HUNTSVILLE - Soft red blooms will commemorate one of the most horrific armed conflicts in history this summer in Huntsville. Colleen MacDonald, manager of parks and cemeteries for the Town of Huntsville, said staff is preparing to plant hundreds of corn poppies around the municipality over the next few months in honour of the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. "It is a relatively inexpensive, but beautiful way to commemorate the war," said MacDonald. She said the idea came from another municipality in the province, which outlined its plans to plant 100 poppies as a gesture of remembrance. Huntsville council supported the idea and decided to do the same. But MacDonald held up the town's one-kilogram bag of corn poppy seeds, which was about the size of a bag of sugar, and estimated there were more than one million potential flowers in it. "We're probably going to plant more than 100," she said with a laugh. The red flowers are the same variety that inspired the First World War poem In Flanders Fields, which was written by Lt.-Col. John McCrae. The poem references poppies blowing in the wind between the crosses of fallen soldiers and urges readers to remember the sacrifices of those who died in war. Some sources state the First World War began on July 28, 1914, so the aim is to have the flowers blooming by that date. Poppies will be planted at the veterans' memorial garden on Forbes Hill Drive, and may also bloom in front of town hall, along King William Street and in the Centre Street North median as well as other locations. The specific variety of poppy is not an opiate.
Sidebar: In Flanders Fields By Lt.-Col. John McCrae
"In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields."
The Town of Huntsville plans to plant more than 100 corn poppies around town this summer in honour of the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.