The Tower of London Remembers

21:47 Alyson Tart 0 Comments

2014 marks 100 years since the start of WWI - in the UK, there have been lots of events, books, television reminding us of the impact it had. With no living veterans left, it's up to us to pass along the histories, stories and memories of those who lived or battled through it.

For the last two years, 11/11 (Armistice Day or also Remembrance Day) is observed around the city with people wearing poppies in remembrance.  This year, while many still pinned a poppy to their lapels, there was also a special exhibit to commemorate the centennial.

In a new take on poppies, the Tower of London hosted the exhibit Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red. This art installation featured 888,246 ceramic poppies, each one representing a British fatality.



The exhibit was special as 8,000 people volunteered to get these poppies in place around the moat of the Tower of London, meaning weeks of preparation up to Remembrance Day. People could stop by throughout this period, watching the sea of poppies grow and take shape, spilling out of a window, or jumping over the bridge. 

I went today, early to beat the worst crowds, to take in the scenery in it's completion.

It was overwhelming in so many ways. First, it's breathtaking in it's beauty. The right red poppies constrasting to the green grass and grey stone. Even poppies that look the same have been crafted to give movement within them, some rising up out of the mass, others falling back, hovering beneath the shade of taller poppies.

Second, it's scale is startling. When you think of them as poppies, it is so many. When you think of them as lives lost, it puts into perspective the vast loss of human life - just from one country. Around the globe, with 16 million fatalities, this makes up an even smaller percentage. It's staggering and a stark reality of the consequences of war. 

I'm so glad I took the chance to stop by and visit this special monument. Over the next few weeks, the installation will be dismantled, poppies sold off (with proceeds benefitting Veteran associations) and life will return as normal to the Tower of London.  So now, all that's left is for us to remember.


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