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!!!!
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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 display was made to mark 100 years since Britains first involvement in World War One.
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!!
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
This is also my post for NaBloPoMo Day 10