Saturday, 27 December 2014

Blood Swept Lands

This Christmas both my wife and I agreed we weren't buying for each other and drastically cut back generally all round due to the fact we've spent everything on the new home.

But one present we had agreed on some time back was to buy a poppy each from the art installation 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red', held at the Tower of London, by artist, Paul Cummins, who produced (with the help of an small army of modellers) 888,246 individually hand-made ceramic poppies, of which no two are the same.

This installation was created to commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War 1914, and by all accounts was an extremely touching, and moving sight to behold and experience in person.

Once the 11th November 2014 had passed, all the poppies were removed one-by-one, cleaned as best they could be, packaged and then posted out to the 888,246 new owners.

Opening the box - Copyright ©2014 Mark Kelly
Sadly, as with all high profile displays, there are those who wish nothing but vile intent, and it was reported on the news that one the days following the removal of these hand made poppies, some scum tried to break into the vans in order to steal these unique flowers. Thankfully none were taken.
And then we heard reports of people posting their poppies on eBay within minutes of receiving them. Times like these make me question if there is nothing left sacred to the human spirit any more that wouldn't be sold for a quick buck?

Certificate of Authentication - Copyright ©2014 Mark Kelly
But as far as Christmas presents go, there couldn't be anything better I'd like than this. I have supported the British Legion and often send a wooden cross for Rememberance Sunday, dedicated to the unknown soldiers, many of whom still lie in the depths of the fields of France, undiscovered to this day. Only just recently the remains of a German WWI soldier were uncovered from a filled in trench on French farmland, complete with remains of uniform and still wearing his spiked helmet. Apparently he was a young man in his early twenties.

A beautiful Poppy and Stem - Copyright ©2014 Mark Kelly
With the fast approach of another new year, I just hope and wish (stupidly, probably) that needless bloodshed and violence across the world in so-called 'theatres of conflict' will gradually abate, and the waste of innocent lives - both civilian and military - will eventually reduce to a trickle (but even that is too much unwarrented loss, but reality dictates such things will never, ever cease completely).

Copyright ©2014 Mark Kelly
I often wonder about what amazing people we have lost to all the wars throughout history, and including present day, that could have potentially been another Mozart, Einstien, or Curie - people who quite possibly had the gift to have made a difference to humanity and even enriched our present lives and those of future generations? Something we shall never know.

War is an edict of the privilaged few, carried out with the sacrifice of many in the name of 'good', no matter what side you are on. The only 'good' thing about a war is its ending, never its beginning.

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