London’s Poppies

Tuesday November 11, 2014

(Not my photo! This was taken by Adam Singer.)

It is often hard to imagine what it means that 5,281 American soldiers have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, that 405,399 American soldiers died in World War II. The numbers are too large to comprehend, with millions more mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, children, siblings affected by each death.

This is why the art installation, Blood Swept Sands and Seas of Red, at the Tower of London is a brilliant (and devastating) commemoration of the British lives lost in World War I.

Over the summer, ceramic artist Paul Cummins, stage designer Top Piper, and their team of hundreds began planting a ceramic poppy for each British soldier killed in World War I in the dry Tower of London moat. The team worked all through the summer and into the fall, the poppies flowing outward and spreading into giant pools of red. As of today, it is completed: 888,246 poppies commemorating 888,246 lives lost in the war.

Flickr has the best slideshow I’ve been able to find of it. Go have a look.

(The poppies are now all sold, proceeds going to several veterans charities.)

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