Remembrance Day Poppies
The poppy's significance to Remembrance Day is a result of Canadian military physician John McCrae's poem In Flanders Fields. The poppy emblem was chosen because of the poppies that bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their red colour an appropriate symbol for the bloodshed of trench warfare. A Frenchwoman, Anna E. Guérin, introduced the widely used artificial poppies given out today. Some people choose to wear white poppies, which emphasises a desire for peaceful alternatives to military action.
In Canadian tradition, the poppy is worn by many members of society during the two weeks prior to November 11. Until 1996, poppies were made by disabled veterans in Canada, but they have since been made by a private contractor.
In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland the poppies are the flat Earl Haig variety with a leaf. Wearers require a separate pin to attach the poppy to their clothing. In Scotland the poppies are curled at the petals with no leaf. In Northern Ireland, because the poppy honours soldiers of the British Armed Forces and due to The Troubles, it is worn primarily by members of the Unionist and the Irish Protestant community.
In Australia, Canada, and New Zealand the poppies are curled at the petals with no leaf. The Canadian poppies consist of two pieces and a pin to attach them to clothing. The head portion of the pin is bent at an angle in a simple unusual design that requires a unique machine at manufacturing. For many years the centre of the Canadian poppy was both black and green (from two small concentric circles made of felt - the outer was green and the inner was black); current designs are black only.
In Sri Lanka in the inter-war years, there were rival sales of yellow Suriya (portia tree) flowers by the Suriya-Mal Movement on Remembrance Day, since funds from poppy sales were not used for Sri Lankan ex-service personnel but were repatriated to Britain. However, nowadays poppy sales are used for indigenous ex-service personnel who have been disabled in the ongoing civil war.
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