|Flanders field poppy, Papaver rhoeas, in bloom. (Photo courtesy of A. Cuellar)|
The old flower boxes outside the Mamie D. Lee Community Garden are full of red poppies - Flanders field poppies - blooming just in time for Memorial Day. There are many ways to remember and honor those who have died while serving our country - some lay wreaths or place flags at gravesites. Some have parades. I grow poppies, the flower that has symbolized the horror of war and its enormous cost in human lives for 100 years.
During World War I, the poppies grew abundantly where the soil was disturbed by shelling, fighting, and newly dug graves. The blossoms must have been incredible, for they have been described in verse and are used in remembrance ceremonies around the world.