Where Poppies Blow

Returning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, is here today to remind us of a time that should never be forgotten, the men who gave their lives on the World War I front lines and the good an author and her community can do for each other.

The third Christy Bristol Astrology Mystery, A Snitch in Time, is in bookstores now.

sunny69@comcast.net   //  http://www.sunnyfrazier.com

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row. . .

I’m sure you’ve heard at least the first part of the famous poem from WWI. It was written in 1914 by John McCrae, a Canadian doctor on the front lines. He decided it was trash and that’s where he threw it. One of his men retrieved the poem and it became the most celebrated poem to come out of WWI.

April 22, 1915: The Battle of Ypres opened with the release of mustard gas by the Germans. On a field between France and Belgian, known as The Western Front, the battle lasted just a little over a month. 85,000 soldiers died. The average American doesn’t know much about the battle because it was the Canadians and the British doing the fighting.

The terrain was badly torn up, a field of dirt clods. The trees were skeletons against a gun-powder sky. But now it was May and, despite all forces set against them, the poppies bloomed. It was incongruous to see the vibrant red petals slowly take over the area, not blood this time but nature honoring the men who gave up their lives.

The poppies have been renamed the Memorial Poppy. To the Canadians and the British, the battle in Flanders Field is much like our feelings for Pearl Harbor. They celebrate by gathering  large amounts of flowers to commemorate those soldiers who died. Donations for the modern crepe paper version we see in America are used to support Veterans and their families in need.

Saturday, I was Guest of Honor at the American Legion’s Poppy Brunch put on by the Auxiliary. I’m also part of Post 3, Hanford. They billed me as the Local Author and, up to Saturday, I had no idea how proud they were of me. We have authors in Fresno, our “metropolis,” but only a handful in the smaller towns in the area. I know many authors don’t have the level of support I’m given. What I try to give back is a sense of the Central Valley, the people and cultures that surround me, the rich fields of produce that feeds a nation, the overwhelming heat and critical fog. I want readers to know who we are because I’m proud to be from here. I’ll give them both the good image and the bad (come on, I write about murder). You know plenty about LA, San Francisco and New York. But, have you heard about Lemoore?

    

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7 thoughts on “Where Poppies Blow

  1. Thank you, Sunny, for the interesting piece of history. I never heard about the WWI poem. I really enjoyed all three of your Christy Bristol books and look forward to the 4th. Hope you are doing well. You sure look like you are.

  2. Nice post, Sunny. I love that poem, didn’t know it referred to Canadian and British forces. Doiubly meaningful to me because my dad fought with Canadian forces in Europe during WWI. He never talked much about it, but when jet planes started going over our house, he’d instinctively duck because it sounded like incoming fire.

  3. Great post, Sunny. But were the poppies red? Not orange like ours? I don’t know, just asking. I know when they sell the poppies for donations (do they still do that) they are orange. You’re a terrific writer, wish you’d get that next book done.

    • Yes, they are red. The golden poppy you’re thinking about is connected to California (state flower). And, poppies are still sold, our legionnaires are out there in front of the post office every year.

  4. Thank you for the history behind the poem, which I’ve always loved. I prefer reading about small towns, and the different kinds of worlds found there. Great post.

  5. I loved the way you told the story, Sunny. I didn’t know the history behind the poem and I’m glad you shared it. Looks like you’re doing well–I’m so happy for you!

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