Last year was the 100 year anniversary of the start of WWI. Throughout Europe, celebrations and memorials of every kind were given to honor those who had died for the sake of freedom from tyranny. It was a messy war that dragged on through the mud for four years, and by the time the smoke had cleared, over 16 million lay dead and 20 million wounded. It is considered the 6th most deadly conflict in human history.

I like to think I got Kate's poppy

I like to think I got Kate’s poppy

To mark the special occasion, the Tower of London filled the moat with 888,246 ceramic poppies between 17 July and 11 November. Each poppy represented a British military fatality during the war. The artist was inspired by a line in the will of a Derbyshire man who joined up in the early days of the war and died in Flanders. The man wrote: “The blood swept lands and seas of red, where angels fear to tread.” Potters hand-made each piece using techniques which were utilized by potters during WWI.

Throughout the months of display, volunteers from around the world came to plant each of the poppies. Many of them descendants from soldiers, or veterans from following wars. Even the Queen came out to pay her respects. All of the poppies were sold, raising millions to spread equally among six service charities.

Though my family sailed from England over four centuries ago, I would have loved the honor to plant one of these, to see this incredible installation, and pay my respects not just for the British, but for all who gave their lives in every terrible conflict. Knowing my love of history and all things anglophilia, my husband surprised me with a poppy. It was a strange feeling, holding it my hands. Excited and yet sad because for me to hold one meant someone had to die. It now has an honored spot on our hutch with our other collectibles. Once we get our new house, I’ll find a better more prominent place. A piece of history that I can pass down.


My poppy.


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.


  1. Lisa Betz

    How cool to actually have a poppy. (Major points to the hubby for thinking to get one!)
    My ancestors came over from England 4 centuries ago too. 🙂

    1. J'nell (Post author)

      In truth, I hinted pretty hard that I wanted one. Makes things easier. Wouldn’t it be cool if our ancestors were neighbors in the new world?!

      1. Lisa Betz

        That’s what I was thinking too.

  2. Kathleen Rouser

    Ceramic poppies seem like such a classy way to remember those who were lost.
    They’re like little works of art. And it was so kind of your husband to get one for you.
    Very cool!

    1. J'nell (Post author)

      I think so too! I wonder where the artists get their inspiration from. How intimidating to take on a project like this for all the world to see.


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