poppy veterans dayTomorrow is Veteran’s Day, and we’ll probably see a lot of poppies as a symbol of remembrance. Here’s a little illustration of a poppy I did in my sketchbook a while back, and some info about how that tradition got started.

From The Poppy Story on the American Legion’s website: “After World War I, the poppy flourished in Europe. Scientists attributed the growth to soils in France and Belgium becoming enriched with lime from the rubble left by the war. From the dirt and mud grew a beautiful red poppy. The red poppy came to symbolize the bloodshed during battle following the publication of the wartime poem “In Flanders Fields.”

You can read more about The Poppy Story on the American Legion’s website, where you can also download a poster of “In Flanders Fields.” And here’s a sweatshirt featuring my illustration.

In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae

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.