Blood Swept lands and Seas of Red, a poppy memorial to our fallen heroes at the Tower of London

Blood Swept lands and Seas of Red, a poppy memorial to our fallen heroes at the Tower of London

This post is part of the Photography101 challenge that I am doing and the word to focus on today is connect.  This is what they say:-

In this age of social media, we hear the word connect more often, don’t we?Connect with us on Facebook! Connect with me on LinkedIn! Given what today’s technologies can do, it feels like the world is getting smaller, and we’re more connected than ever before.

There are many ways to interpret this theme: from a gadget to a handshake, from a bridge to a gathering among friends. What’s yours?

I was trying to think what to do today for this.  I got my son to get out the ‘Connect’ game and after having been beaten asked him to pose dropping the plastic counters in, this I thought a good depiction of ‘connect’.  Then he came to me with his Lego and said “mummy look at this I have to connect it all, this would be good for ‘connect’.  So I took a photo of this.  Then when I walked him to school I tried to get him to make the heart shape with my hands in a shadow, oh no way an 8yr old boy was going for that.  Then there were men drilling the road, there was definitely some connecting going on there deafening my eardrums as the metal connected with the tarmac lifting it up.

Then I had a Eureka moment!!!!

The Tower of London Poppies

The Tower of London Poppies

It was Remembrance Sunday yesterday as you know and the whole family went down to the Tower of London at sunrise to see the poppies.

I thought it was very important firstly for my children to see not only such an astounding display of art, one that has taken countless hours to make & volunteers to display, but also to understand and ‘connect’ with what it all stands for.  The same goes for myself.

The Tower of London Poppies

The Tower of London Poppies

The visual impact of the display is breathtaking and emotionally intensely thought provoking.  Even at 7am there were crowds there, enough to just about move through.

Blood Swept lands and Seas of Red

Personal tributes to the fallen heroes

Dotted along the wire railings were photographs of those lost in war, those that died, small crucifix’s and other personal artefacts in memory of loved ones.

Personal tributes to the fallen heroes

Personal tributes to the fallen heroes

You will see that I photographed not only the display but the crowds, you will see the hundreds of people standing there just taking in the moment, the sea of photographers and many people taking the inevitable selfies with a poppy background.

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red

The display is called the Blood Swept lands and Seas of Red.  I asked earlier being ignorant what is the significance of the poppy.  For those of you who do not know the scarlet corn poppies grow naturally in areas where there is disturbed earth throughout Western Europe.

Blood Swept lands and Seas of Red

Blood Swept lands and Seas of Red

Areas of bare land transformed in to fields of blood red poppies, growing around the bodies of fallen soldiers after the destruction brought about by the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th Century.

Blood Swept lands and Seas of Red

Blood Swept lands and Seas of Red

After the conflict of 1914, the fields of Northern France and Flanders were once again ripped open as World War one raged through Europe, it was at this time that only the poppy then grew on otherwise barren battlefields.

The significance of the poppy and its longevity as a memorial symbol to fallen heroes was realised by the Canadian surgeon John McCrae in his poem ‘The Flanders Fields’.

Blood Swept lands and Seas of Red

Blood Swept lands and Seas of Red

It represents the immeasurable sacrifice made by his comrades, a memorial to those who died in World War One and later conflicts.  It then became adopted by the Royal British Legion as the symbol for their Poppy Appeal in aid of those serving in the British Armed Forces.

The Tower of Londons Poppies

The Tower of London Poppies

The Tower of London Poppies

The display was made to mark 100 years since Britains first involvement in World War One.

Blood Swept lands and Seas of Red

Blood Swept lands and Seas of Red

Ceramic artist Paul Cummins designed the poppys and Tom Piper helped with the setting.  There are over 888,246 ceramic poppies which fill the Tower’s famous moat.  Each poppy representing a British military fatality during the war.

Connecting in many ways

I took this photo as I found many of the personal displays of tributes to family members very moving.

I happened to put this one on Instagram.  I woke up to find a message to me from a stranger on Instagram stating that they had put this photo up Saturday evening just gone when they visited the Tower of London.  However the lighting was so bad that they were unable to get a good photo of their Great Uncles and were so pleased that they had found this photograph that I had taken.

What are the chances of that happening?

Connecting in many ways!!

The Tower of London Memorial

A personal memorial I photographed, it apparently turns out that the photo shows an Instagrams Great Uncle(s) who saw my photo and thanked me as they were unable to get enough light to show it at the display, though they managed to get it up.

How does seeing this display even online make you feel?

I thought I would share with you the poem:

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.

It was for me a very emotional day, something that being born in a generation not affected by World War One, one can feel sometimes disconnected, but yesterday certainly made me feel ‘connected’ in many ways.

Thank you for reading, I would love some feedback on how you feel after reading, this.  Justine xx

Photography101

Photography101

Photography101:  Connect

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#photography101

This is also my post for NaBloPoMo Day 10

#NaBloPoMo

NaBloPoMo_November

NaBloPoMo_November

 

 

  59 comments for “Blood Swept lands and Seas of Red, a poppy memorial to our fallen heroes at the Tower of London

  1. November 10, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    Amazing post! What a moving tribute that display is, must be so wonderful to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 10, 2014 at 2:43 PM

      it was truly amazing i feel really blessed to have been able to not only see it myself but take my children there xx

      Like

  2. November 10, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    Wow! those are stunning images. So beautiful.
    And yes, to your conversation with your kiddo, they give the best idea at times. Know that their minds are more fresh and creative than ours.
    Great job!

    Liked by 2 people

    • November 10, 2014 at 2:44 PM

      oh exactly my childrens minds are far less addled than mine lol. Thank you soo much for swinging by, the display was moving and amazing x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. November 10, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    The news here did a story on those poppies at the Tower of London. So much moving images shown on the news! Love your’s as well. Thanks for sharing. I bet it is amazing to see in person.

    Like

    • November 10, 2014 at 2:44 PM

      thankyou it was really amazing to see and so glad i went early it was very atmospheric and moving. Your comments are really appreciate, hope to catch up again x

      Like

  4. November 10, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    Beautiful post, great images, moving words, what better response to the theme of connection could there be, very impressive, I would love to have seen the display…

    perhaps you may like to look at a post I put up on my blog a year or so ago also
    http://belgianstreets.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/in-flanders-fields/

    Like

    • November 10, 2014 at 2:50 PM

      I popped by and commented, amazing post so thank you for sharing this, the photos are very invoking and emotional xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • November 10, 2014 at 2:51 PM

        Thank you, I have been to that area a couple of times it is an intensely emotional experience, thank you for taking a look… x

        Liked by 1 person

  5. November 10, 2014 at 2:36 PM

    A beautiful post…got a little teary as I remember family members. What a beautiful tribute! Thanks for sharing this! Have a great day!

    Like

    • November 10, 2014 at 2:46 PM

      awe, hugs to you. it is an amazing tribute, very emotional as you say, it has had me thinking since, thank you so much for commenting, hope to catch up again xx

      Like

  6. November 10, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    Seeing the pictures of ceramic poppies and knowing there is one for every soldier lost in WWI is definitely very humbling to see. The red is endless, and that sea is created by human tragedy. I think it’s a great way to remember the losses incurred during the Great War, and I wish we did more to remember it here in the States.

    I will say this, though. The entire world is still affected by that war, even to this day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 10, 2014 at 2:47 PM

      oh yes we are perpetually affected but this memorial highlights taht well to me it did, the loss, the tragedy of it all and still even after that it still goes on to this day, as humans can we ever be at peace with each other? x

      Like

  7. November 10, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    Beautiful idea and beautiful photos.

    Like

    • November 10, 2014 at 2:48 PM

      thank you so much for popping by and commenting, means a lot, i am glad you like x

      Liked by 1 person

  8. November 10, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    A beautiful post and beautiful images.

    This is a fantastic interpretation of ‘connect’.

    I can only imagine how breathtaking that was to look at and how emotionally charged that crowd must have been xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 10, 2014 at 2:51 PM

      yes it was amazing it is still with me the emotions today and in a way I hope will linger for much longer 🙂 xxxx hugs xx

      Like

  9. November 10, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    This is such an amazing post, and obviously so appropriate at this time of year. Tomorrow is Remembrance Day here, my older son will be reciting two poems with his class at an assembly at school, and I’m sure the events downtown will have much more significance after the soldier being shot dead a couple weeks ago while guarding the War Memorial.

    Your pictures are terrific in this post too. Though I’ve seen a lot of images from this display over the past few weeks, I didn’t know anything about the actual display and the reason behind its creation.

    Fantastic post today!

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 10, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      awe so glad you like it 🙂 Your comments are like gold dust….the emotions linger with me of which I am grateful xx

      Like

  10. November 10, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    Thank you, dear Justine. That is simply too emotionsl gor words . Flanders Fields brings me quickly to tears as do the poppies we buy on our military holidays. This is such a wonderful tribute and thsnk you so much for helping the rest of us experience the tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 10, 2014 at 3:41 PM

      It is a pleasure Sammy, I am glad it resonated with you, it has with me and is lingering for which I am glad, it was an amazing experience, humbling and breath taking xx

      Like

  11. NotAPunkRocker
    November 10, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    Amazing pictures and beautiful interpretation of the prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. November 10, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    An incredible tribute that brings the soul of the nation and world together, yes connect is perfectly displayed here Eva. Thank you for this post, it has brought home the significant meaning of the symbol of poppies and the lost soldiers of WWI – the imagery and words will forever be seared in my mind. You ask how we feel after reading this . . . I’ll never paint a poppy casually again without a quiet nod and remembrance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 10, 2014 at 3:18 PM

      I’m sorry Justine – not sure why I’ve called you Eva. Please accept my apology, working too fast through my Reader. Take care and have a lovely week.

      Liked by 1 person

      • November 10, 2014 at 4:42 PM

        It’s alright I don’t mind being called Eva it’s a nice name 🙂 x

        Like

      • November 10, 2014 at 4:43 PM

        ps thank you so much for the re-blog x

        Like

    • November 10, 2014 at 4:42 PM

      wow that is quite an impact, wonderful, I think that this has evoked so many emotions is wonderful, thank you 🙂 xx

      Like

  13. November 10, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    Reblogged this on Oil Pastels by Mary and commented:
    Please take a few minutes to read Justine’s beautiful tribute . . . her photographs bring a solemn reminder of the souls of war.

    Like

  14. November 10, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    This is very moving – the poppies spilling over the tower wall. Impressive tradition to honor those who sacrificed. As a child, we had poppies and remembrances, but sadly that seems to have faded here.
    Elegant photos – the very numbers are overwhelming. Memory must not fade
    Thank you for this important post

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 10, 2014 at 4:44 PM

      Your right memories must not fade and the poppies spilling like blood of the building has quite an impact, its very clever and emotionally tugging at the heart strings x Thank you so much for your comment x

      Liked by 1 person

  15. November 10, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    Wow. You were right…..I love your post. It is amazing. Every piece of it is new information to me and your pictures are gorgeous. (And I love that your son has such good ideas for you too!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • November 10, 2014 at 4:44 PM

      awe thank you I knew you would appreciate this post. Glad that it has touched in some way x

      Like

  16. November 10, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    Marvelous and moving, to say the least.

    Like

    • November 10, 2014 at 4:46 PM

      thank you and thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment, hope to catch up again xx

      Like

  17. November 10, 2014 at 5:34 PM

    What an incredible display and this is an amazing post. Very moving and so interesting, loved learning about this very important day. We should never forget those that fought and died for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 10, 2014 at 6:07 PM

      exactly you are so right and i am glad you liked the post I am so happy that I can share it with all my blogger buddies xx

      Like

  18. November 10, 2014 at 6:25 PM

    How amazing and moving!

    Like

  19. November 10, 2014 at 7:51 PM

    Incredible photos; emotionally packed words. Lovely post. Thank you so very much for sharing this.

    Like

    • November 11, 2014 at 2:32 PM

      oh a complete pleasure to share it, its wonderful to have this platform to share important things like this and thank you so much for popping by good to see you xx

      Liked by 1 person

  20. November 10, 2014 at 9:08 PM

    Beautiful photos Justine. I actually have a post ready for tomorrow ..just with the poem and one photo, for those who read my blog…. We learned that poem in school when I went.. and memorized it… Diane

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 11, 2014 at 2:38 PM

      awe touching words and I am going to pop by your blog now to see your post as I am terribly behind on reading xx

      Like

  21. November 10, 2014 at 10:18 PM

    I had no idea this happened every year. It was beautiful. Thank you for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 11, 2014 at 2:40 PM

      Oh it’s not every year just thisyear as it is the 100th anniversary since Britain became involved in the First World War so there are many commemorations x

      Liked by 1 person

  22. November 10, 2014 at 10:33 PM

    It’s not easy to capture the enormity of this – you have some great shots here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 11, 2014 at 2:41 PM

      thank you, it is an overwhelming display and amazing x

      Like

  23. November 11, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    That’s really beautiful and poignant. Beautiful post as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. November 11, 2014 at 7:46 PM

    A much respected blogging friend produced a post about the poppies which I thought was beautiful- until I saw yours! This is exceptional 🙂 I truly love what you have done here. I can’t imagine anyone not being moved by the poppies. They are totally an inspiration. I owe Mary thanks for pointing me this way. Nice to meet you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 12, 2014 at 12:35 PM

      oh wow thank you what a wonderful thing to say, i am glad you managed to pop by via mary to find it. She writes/posts lovely things too, its great this blogging world isnt it and the ability to share treasured things x I hope you stop by again x

      Liked by 1 person

  25. November 12, 2014 at 8:37 PM

    Beautifully written x

    Liked by 1 person

  26. November 19, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto
    a friend who has been doing a little research on this.
    And he actually ordeered mee dinner due too
    the fact that I found it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this….
    Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thans for spending the
    time to talk about this issue here on your web page.

    Like

    • November 19, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      i hope you enjoyed the meal, thank you for passing this on x

      Like

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