I hurriedly looked at some photos of Will and Kate at a beautiful installation at the Tower of London during a break at work the other day. The purpose of the installation didn’t register with me at the time. But then, a few days later, Abby sent me a link to photos on a different website. I read more about it and watched some videos about the installation.
And I found myself in tears.
The installation of 888, 246 ceramic red poppies commemorates the centenary of World War I. Artist Paul Cummins and his team are making every ceramic poppy by hand. And volunteers are helping “plant” them on the Tower of London’s grounds.
888, 246 poppies: one for each soldier in Britain and its empire who died in the first World War.
The poppies are for sale, with proceeds going to six charities. I was all set to buy a poppy until I realized that it would cost around $90 to have it shipped to the United States. It’s out of my price range at the moment. Even though I love Britain (those who know me know that is an understatement), I felt strange donating money to charities that are helping British vets when plenty of American vets need help.
*Light bulb appears above my head.* I would find a charity in the States that reunites soldiers with the animals they worked with or met while deployed.
Last month, I read this article about soldiers who are dog handlers, training and taking care of military working dogs who accompany them to sniff out IEDs. And a few weeks ago, I saw a TV news story about a soldier being reunited with a dog he worked with while deployed.
I’m a huge animal lover, so I CAN imagine how important these animals become to soldiers. Not only do the animals sometimes physically save the soldiers, but they also save them emotionally.
I also learned that some soldiers take strays under their wings during deployment. I just reserved this book from the library about a British marine who started a shelter for strays in Afghanistan. What an amazing story!
So I am making a small donation to Puppy Rescue Mission, in honor of all those who died in World War I. More than 30 million people.
I don’t believe that any of my relatives fought in this war. I found WWI draft cards for three of my great-grandfathers. One was 35 years old, one was 24, and one was 20. Did any of your relatives fight in World War I? How will you remember them?