mercredi 12 novembre 2014

Cornflower and poppy

In the aftermath of November 11, 2014, we saw many poppy flowers. During the ceremony which took place yesterday in Ponteix, the Centre Culturel Royer was able to lay its crown and pay tribute to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives on the other side of the Atlantic.

It has been a hundred years since the First World War broke out in the aftermath of the Sarajevo attack. That was in June 1914. The world was a chaos. Millions of people fell.

When I lived in France, I did not know why we saw so many poppies placed in churches and graveyards in the cemeteries. Now that I live in Canada, I know. Every year, people proudly wear this flower in the week before November 11: a flower to remember.

Why do we not wear that flower in France? Simply because we wear a cornflower. We see  that flower pinned to the lapel of the President of the Republic, during the commemorations.

Why have we chose this flower rather than the poppy? It's very simple. The poppy is a reference to a poem written in 1915 by a Canadian soldier, entitled "In Flanders Fields". The choice of cornflower  is both a reference to the uniform of the French soldiers (any rookie who came in the trenches wore a brand new uniform). New recruits were easily recognizable to the cleanliness of their blue uniforms, so any new soldier received the nickname  of "Bleuet" (Cornflower).

                                                           Depuis le site du CNRS

During the Great War, a poem called "Bleuets de France" was written by Alphonse Bourgoin. Cornflower was made by disabled soldiers to support them in their daily lives. Nowadays, the cornflower is still manufactured and sold in the days preceding the commemorations of the 11th of November.

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