Saturday, November 22, 2014

100 years: Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red

You've heard a lot about poppies this year, haven't you?
Well bear with one more...

The people of London were blessed with being able to see ceramic poppies at the Tower of London this year, A huge display of over 800,000 ceramic poppies, every placed poppy representing a fallen British soldier of WW1.

Why poppies you ask?
The red remembrance poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem in Flanders Field. These poppies bloomed across some of the worse battlefields of Flanders in World War 1, the brilliant color of the poppies became a symbol for the blood spilled in the war.

You knew that though didn't you?

I was blessed with the opportunity to visit London in October, to see this spectacular display at the Tower of London, "Blood Swept Tears and Seas of Red". It's my desire to share these photos from my trip before the holidays get too close. The holidays are another gorgeous time of year filled with Red, But for now, I want to focus on remembrance...

I went twice to see this display, the first time was practically as I stepped off of the airplane, Heathrow is quite a journey from the center of London, but, I love it. That feeling of "I'm in London, I'm in London... I'M IN LONDON!"... and this trip was to see a very special display, one that would only be on display this year, and was (in my mind) a once in a life time view of art, patriotism and recognition. When I first saw the display from across the river Thames, it honestly looked like a sea of red. Those of you that know me KNOW how much I love Tower Bridge, but this time I sprinted across it, no slow sauntering for me, I had to get to the display! The view once I had crossed Tower Bridge? Breathtaking. There really is no other word.


These ceramic poppies were created by Artist Paul Cummins,
If you're interested in how Paul and his team made each poppy, Read his story HERE

I was lucky that in early October when I visited this amazing display, I was able to see it with a minimal crowd. I went once in the day, and once at night. In the evening because I wanted to hear the names of fallen soldiers called out at dusk, I felt like it was a way of honoring those that died too young, listening to their names called out and knowing that they were loved by someone, somewhere, at some time. My way of saying "You were important and so was your life... Thank you".

I'm not British, but I love England. Just like the love I have for my own country, it's hard to explain it. So I don't. I feel patriotic for both sides. My Grandmother was born and raised in Devon, England. I only met her once, as I'm adopted, but that English blood rages through my veins.

I'm a proud American that is extremely proud of her English heritage.

The night that I chose to hear the names called at the Tower of London was A cold and wet night. I had no umbrella and just a jacket, my phone and my camera. I threw my coat over my head and took the best photos that I could. Every second of stinging, cold, drops of rain? Totally worth it.
At the end, a lone Queen's guard played "The Last Post" on his bugle.
It was a very moving tribute, it was done nightly. Different names read, different people honored.

When I was there, that cold wet evening in October, a good size crowd had gathered during the tribute of soldiers names. No one spoke, no one moved. Everyone just listened, with absolute respect. I suspect it was that way every night.

I used to wonder why the British weren't patriotic, but I'm curious no more. It turns out the British are very patriotic, they just don't whoop and holler like us yanks... and that's okay. They choose to do things quietly, with composure and dignity... I admire that.

With Thanksgiving this week, I wish all of my American friends a Happy Thanksgiving, and my British friends... I'll eat some turkey for you!

Have a Great upcoming week,


  1. Lovely post Tammy and glad you got to see the Poppies in person. I have one coming to me, which I will treat with great care. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving! xx

  2. I think you're right that the British simply don't make as loud a fuss as we Americans do. I did know about this and the history behind it, but I'd never seen as many photos as you have here. Thank you for the abundance of shots. How awesome it must have been to see it in person! Thanks, Tammy.

  3. You took some really beautiful photos of it Tammy. I hope you enjoyed your trip :)

  4. Great post Tammy. As you know I visited a couple of times and put my ancestor's name down for the roll of honour. When we went along to hear his name the atmosphere was brilliant and very respectful. The moat is practically empty now with the poppies now picked and being cleaned before being sent off to their owners. I am ready to receive mine to put with my ancestor's personal effects. Take care xx

  5. Great photos, Tammy! These are really beautiful! I wish I'd been able to make it over one evening for the Last Post, but never had the opportunity!

  6. It was such an amazing and special tribute!! Such a well thought out one at that!! So glad you got to see it!!

  7. Lucky you getting turkey! Yes, you're right about the British - extremly patriotic but quiet and dignified about it.

  8. That's got to be one of the best write-ups of this that I've seen. Great photos too. We visited it earlier this month and it is indeed amazing - what a concept! I'd like to think British patriotism doesn't have to shout, but is certainly there. Come back soon, Tammy.

  9. Beautiful. This is one of the best posts I have seen about it!

  10. Hi Tammy, it's amazing that you go to see this, all the way from America too! I did really consider going, but bulked at the train fare in the end. Sad to have missed it. Hope things are going okay for you. X

  11. I wish I'd had the opportunity to see this. It looks breathtaking x

  12. This is gorgeous but also a bit heart wrenching thinking about how many fallen soldiers it represents
    The Doctor Diva


Thank you for your positive comments!