ANZAC Day - The History of the Red Poppy

With Anzac Day just around the corner, we thought a short blog on the history of the Red Poppy was appropriate.

Although made of paper or material to wear on jacket lapels in remembrance of WW1 and WW2, the poppy itself as a flower is stunning. People wear the poppy to remember those who died in the two World Wars. The poppy is a symbol for ANZAC Day as it was red poppies that bloomed on the graves of soldiers in France and Belgium in the early 20th century.

Poppies only flower in rooted up soil. Their seeds can lie on the ground for years and years, and it's only when someone roots up the ground that they will sprout. There was enough rooted up soil on the battlefield of the Western Front that the whole front consisted of churned up soil and thereby poppies grew by the dozens.

It is said that in May 1915, when Colonel John McCrae (a Canadian poet) wrote his famous poem about Flanders Field in Belgium, poppies blossomed like no one had ever seen all around him.

Flanders Field in Belgium by Colonel John McCare

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place, and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarcely heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.