Today marks Remembrance Day – a day to stop and remember all those who have lost their lives fighting for peace and freedom in the line of duty. It’s also called Poppy Day after what has become an important symbol of remembrance inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields” by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. This year to mark the centenary of WWI, the Tower of London has been the setting for a moving installation called Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red with 888,246 ceramic poppies designed by the artist Paul Cummins. The number 888,246 honors each British and colonial fatality during WWI. It’s a number, a huge number, that becomes soberingly real when it stretches out before your eyes. The dry moat around the Tower of London has been transformed into a dramatic memorial that has drawn approximately four million visitors since the poppies slowly began appearing back in August.
It’s a captivating experience, and it has proven so popular that Mayor of London Boris Johnson, the Evening Standard’s Save Our Poppies campaign and Prime Minister David Cameron are among the many that called for the extension of the display past the planned end date of November 12th. A selection of the poppies, which spill over the wall of the Tower of London, will be in place until the end of November. The rest of the sea of poppies will be removed slowly and will tour around the UK in 2015.
If you haven’t had the chance to experience this incredible memorial, Historic Royal Palaces have created a beautiful video with aerial footage showing the installation at the Tower of London.