Rooted in History: Corn Poppy

May 26th, 2017 Rooted in History

Currently, the park garden is blooming with poppies. These glorious red corn poppies, sometimes known as Flanders poppies, have held renown for quite sometime. As medicine they have been used as a mild sedative, and they are the culinary poppy seeds commonly used in baking. The petals can also be used as dye.

However, we may know them better now as the symbol for Memorial Day as they were the flowers that sprang from the disturbed battlefields of Europe during World War I. Certainly a touching reminder of the burial sites of many an unknown and unrecovered soldier. This Memorial Day, I personally extend the invitation for all those seeking to mourn their lost loved soldiers to bring scissors or shears and collect one poppy for a gravesite or another honored location.

In Flanders Fields
John McCrae, 1872 – 1918

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.