Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

Poppies, poppies, poppies everywhere

If you are walking around the streets of England right now, you cannot help but notice many wearing 
paper red poppies in their button holes or driving with an affixed plastic poppy on their grille

[ personal photo ]

Aside from the date being 11/11/11 { love that! }

today is Remembrance Day,
a memorial day observed in many Commonwealth countries 
to remember those in the armed forces who have died serving their countries since World War I

{ the official end of WWI was 11 November 1918 at 11am }

As a sign of respect at 11am,
many English will take a two minute moment of silence today as they do each year as a sign of respect

A team of about 50 people, mostly disabled former British military personnel,
work all year to churn out millions of paper poppies to sell in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland
{Scotland makes their own}

Formed in 1922,
The Royal British Legion Poppy Factory is located in an old brewery in Richmond, just outside London

Remembrance Poppies are sold on the street by volunteers at the cost of a donation
and worn by the general public, TV presenters, celebrities, the Royal Family, and politicians

Emma Watson wears a Poppy to the world premier of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I' in London last year
[ The Telegraph ]

Funds collected go to charities providing financial, social and emotional support 
to those who have served or who are currently serving 
in the British Armed Forces and their dependents

It all began with the wartime poem 'In Flanders Fields' written by Canadian doctor John McCrae and
first published in 1915 in the London-based magazine Punch

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row...

This poem refers to the corn poppy/ Flanders poppy (Papaver rhoeas), 
the first plant to grow in the churned-up soil of soldiers graves in Belgium and northern France during WWI

{ and one of my all-time wildflower favs }

Flanders Poppy
[ wikipedia ]

In 1918, American YWCA worker Moina Michael was inspired by the poem
and vowed to always wear a red poppy as a symbol of remembrance for those who served in war

She appeared at the YWCA Overseas War Secretaries' conference 
with a silk poppy pinned to her coat and distributed 25 more to those attending 

At this conference, Frenchwoman Anna E Guerin was inspired to send artificial poppies to London in 1921
which were adopted by the Royal British Legion shortly thereafter
The rest is history

Although this poppy-wearing tradition was started by an American,
it is not practiced in the United States

I must say it is nice to see a garden of poppies walking around the streets on lapels and cars
What a wonderful way to remember the men and women of the armed services who sacrifice so much

And it is a reminder that you never know when you can start a worldwide trend :)

{ Free 2-hour RBL Poppy Factory Tours are offered in Richmond here }

P.S. Thanks to Paul of From Sheep To Alligators for pointing out that Richmond is in London.

Sources: Go LondonBBC 1 2Wikipedia 1 2