'In Flanders Fields the Poppies Blow' But Will They Grace Your Lapel?

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
Scarce 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.
                   -- Canadian John McRae, May 3, 1915

The poppy has become a lightning rod for nationalist politics in Ireland through the decades after the Armistice ended 'The Great War' -- at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Emblematic of mourning for those who died in the war, poppies -- everpresent in British ceremonies marking the war -- were typically eschewed in Ireland. They were, in many minds, a display of solidarity with those countrymen who served Ireland's oppressor. That view was far from universal, though fear of criiticism undoubtedly kept many Irish from displaying the poppy emblem. So we ask, will you be wearing a poppy this Remembrance Day weekend?

Check out The Wild Geese's coverage of Remembrance Day / Veteran's Day


Tags: 20th Century Ireland, Australia, Britain, Canada, Discussions, Events, New, News, War, World War 1, More…Zealand

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I'm a bit confused by this whole discussion because in America the VFW sells fake poppies to raise funds for veterans. So myself and my family have worn them all our lives but we wear/wore them in memory of US soldiers who died, particularly those who died saving Europe from Hitler, as my Dad was a WW2 veteran.

That said, my grandfather was a reservist prior to WWI. In 1913 he also joined the Irish Volunteers and helped drill and train men who later fought in the War of Independence. On the outbreak of the war he got called up and there were many others in exactly the same position. Either they wanted to soldier or they just needed the money because they were so poor. Although defeating German militarism and fascism in WWI was just as important as doing it in WWII. After the war ended he returned home, and fought in a column so he was able to put some of what he learned to work to help liberate Ireland. Ironically perhaps during the War of Independence many times British soldiers disliked the Black and Tans as much as the IRA did and often helped save IRA prisoners from being murdered. If you ever read about that period it happened quite a lot. I think about 1/4 of all Black and Tans were Irish Catholics. And while the British army has done horrendous things in Northern Ireland at times, to my mind they were not as bad as the Free State soldiers who tied unarmed prisoners to landmines and blew them to pieces or buried alive wounded prisoners during the Civil War. Of course these men founded the modern Irish army.


During Armistice Week the Capitol Theater, the largest motion-picture house in New York City, displayed among its decorations all the flags of our allies. Among them was, of course, the British flag. On more than one occasion fanatical Sinn Feiners attacked the theater, endeavoring to tear down and destroy this banner. Unfortunately, they did succeed in their aim despite th» efforts of the police.

Newspaper reports of these attacks stated that the police suggested that the flag be taken down. We learn on inquiry from Mr. Edward Bowes, managing director of the theater, that this statement is contrary to fact. The managers of the theater at last reluctantly decided not to replace the destroyed flag again after the third attack because of the very grave danger to the public involved in inviting riot along populous Broadway. Not only did the police give the theater the protection which it asked, but it is interesting to know that many of the policemen sent by the Department for this duty were themselves of Irish birth. When Mr. Bowes said to one of these policemen, who spoke with a marked brogue," It is pretty hard to ask an Irish policeman to crack Irish heads," the policeman answered: "Sorr, ivery hid looks alike to me when it breaks the law."

There are quite a few people in the United States who should bear in mind the philosophical principle involved in this brief statement. In the person of this Irish policeman New York's Finest "done themselves proud." We wish we knew his name and could publish his picture! http://books.google.com/books?id=jEgwG6mQ7UMC&pg=PA538&focu... 

Yes, I buy and were the poppy every year. because two of my uncles served in the British Army, one of them died at 27years of age. For whatever reason they served in the British Army, does not matter to me ; that fact that they put their lives on the line, is the real issue here.

If they made the decision in Ireland to promote green Poppy's I woudl buy and wear one of them also. Irish men died in two world wars . Irish men died in Ireland 1916 / 1919-1922.................... and our history tells us that Irish men and women died in many, many other conflicts in Ireland and all over the world...

Remembrance is just that remembrance... all all those young men who went to war and never came back Politics shoudl not come into it, although it does unfortunately .       

Yes the poppy was used in the US and Canada as a flower of rememberance.It is also interesting to note that one of the worlds largest republics, which like Ireland who have had conflict with Great Britain in their struggle for independance, use the poppy for the wreaths they lay at the Great War (WW1 for our American cousins) and World War 2 memorials. That place is the Republic of India, who was the second country of the Empire to gain its independance. Other countries adopted  flowers for rememberence at the end of the Great War Framce uses the Blue Cornflower, Germany uses the Forget-me-Not (Germany's rememberence day is this weekend), and Belgium uses the Poppy too, after all 'its in Flanders Fields were the poppy grows'. The flowers are usually made of paper, or cloth some wear brooches. In Britain there is a small movement of pacists who indtroduced a white poppy. None of these flowers, In all these countries are worn to glorifiy war or as sign of triumphalism they are simiply a sign of rememberance. I think the real problem is that the poppy was drawen into a political campaign in Ireland.. It is sad in this day and age the pepole at the theatre have given in to the blackmail of the threat of violence, is this not what our forces today are fighting againest, the scourage of intolerance. As a historical footnote on the Irish cops comment. During the Easter Rebellion an English officer said to a member of the Royal Irish Regiment (many of the British units in Dublin were actually Irish),' will you have a problem shooting at those fellows' , 'no sirr was the reply if they bloody well shoot at us w'll bloody well shoot back'. Sadly Irishmen, as we know from the American Civil War and more recent events have no problem shooting each other. Hopefully those days are now behind us and we can repect each others traditions.

Always in memory of my Father who fought in WWII in India, Burma and China.


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