WW1 Remembrance: Blood swept lands and seas of red

Blood swept lands and seas of red

Over the past months, the Tower of London has been transformed into a red sea of hand-made ceramic poppies to commemorate the start of World War One. The first poppy was planted in July – ever since, 16,000 volunteers from across the World have donated their time to help plant the 888,246 flowers – each of which represents a British or colonial life lost during the war.

Blood swept lands and seas of red

Blood swept lands and seas of red

The evolving installation by ceramic artist Paul Cummins and set designer Tom Piper has a remarkable theatrical effect. I felt overwhelmed by the number of flowers filling the moat and moved by the flow of poppies pouring over the walls of the tower and out its windows. It really provides a sense of perspective to the vast consequences of World War One (or, any war, really!).

Sure, the installation only commemorates the loss of british allied services’ lives, but the truth is – any life lost to war is one life too many. I can’t even imagine how the installation would look like if we added all +16 million lost lives, regardless where they came from.

Blood swept lands and seas of red

Blood swept lands and seas of red

Each poppy has been sold to the public for £25 each, with a share of the proceeds going to six service charities in the UK – and they’ve already been sold out!

Blood swept lands and seas of red

Blood swept lands and seas of red

Blood swept lands and seas of red

The last poppy will be planted on the 11th of November, Armistice Day. If you’re in London before this day, I strongly encourage you to pay a visit this installation – it truly reflects the magnitude of this event.

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23 thoughts on “WW1 Remembrance: Blood swept lands and seas of red

    1. I completely agree. I recently read that the poppy has become the symbol of Remembrance Day due to a poem called “In Flanders Fields” – related to one of the worst battlefields of Flanders in WW1 (their bright red symbolising the blood spilled in the war).

    1. Thanks, Kaleena. Wow, that must have also been a very powerful sight in Santa Barbara! I think sometimes we don’t really know the magnitude of these events and their impact until we see it laid out for us. I still can’t get around the fact that each one represented a british military life lost to the war.

  1. Great photos! We are planning on going to London November 25th. I can’t wait to see the poppies at the Tower of London!

    1. I hope there’ll still be some to see on the 25th – I think dismantling unfortunately starts on the 11th or 12th (although the Major has asked for an extension of another 1-2 weeks – I’ll cross my fingers for that extension!).

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