Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red
'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red where angels fear to tread', a sentence from the Will of a Derbyshire serviceman who died in Flanders, inspired artist Paul Cummins to create an exhibition of the same name. Ceramic red poppies seep out of the walls of the Tower of London, forming blood red pools, each one uniquely created to represent one of the 888,246 British and Colonial lives lost during World War One. The first poppies were tenderly planted by servicemen and women, royalty and politicians, and dozens of volunteers will complete the planting by Remembrance Sunday.
This weekend I stood amongst hundreds of visitors in sadness and awe at the incredible reality of the price generations of families paid for our freedom. I find it hard to conceptualise numbers on that scale when it comes to people, but what is sadder still is the knowledge that this vast number doesn’t include non-British or colonial people who died in the same conflict!
I thought of families ‘back home’ waiting for news of missing loved ones – many of whom were only young boys who lied about their age in order to join. My father did the same thing in World War II. His brother was missing in action and at the age of 89 my Dad still remembers the heartache of that time.
I couldn't help wondering how many of those injuries and deaths would have occurred in today’s modern battlefield and healthcare system. I thought of the contrast of our soldiers now being flown to the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham from Afghanistan where we supply Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists to help in the acute stages of their recovery and Headley Court to progress their rehabilitation and felt grateful for our NHS that offers the best possible acute and rehab care to the men and women who fight on our behalf. Hasn't healthcare changed over the 100 years since that bloody war!
The poppies will go on sale after the 11th of November for £25 each to raise money for charities that support injured servicemen and women. I felt so inspired by those who gave so much to so few and the support that you all give to injured servicemen and women (whatever their age) that I will buy a poppy for everyone who works through Care4Health during the August, September, October until Armistice Day on the 11th of November 2014 as a way of supporting the charities who in turn support wounded soldiers. If you would like a ceramic poppy please phone us to let us know so that we can order one for you.
Wishing you and those you love the desire to spread peace in this world.