Red sea of honour: Chartwell London plants poppies to celebrate veterans

Across the globe, people plant poppies in honour of loved ones who have fought in war. According to Canada.com, the tradition was inspired by an unnamed Derbyshire soldier who wrote a note to his family which said, "The blood-swept lands and seas of red, where angels fear to tread." Upon reading the note in a library, artist Paul Cummins began working with others to produce red ceramic poppies that could represent veterans as a way of honouring their selfless loyalty to their nation.

The makings of a poppy garden
As a tribute to veterans, Chartwell London Retirement Residence decided to make a memorial of their own for Remembrance Day. Linda Adamson, Administrator at the residence, explained that while they always recognize the day in their community, they wanted to do something different this year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Great War and the 75th anniversary of the start of the Second World War. With materials from Die-X Tooling Systems and Harris Home Hardware, as well as help from the 64th London Sparks and students from Mother Teresa High School, residents and their loved ones were able to make a beautiful memorial.

"The response to the project has been overwhelmingly positive," said Adamson. "Names have been put forward by residents, staff and visitors. Members of the Cadet Corps and the Legion have also been invited to submit names. People are pleased to be able to recognize a relative or friend who served their country."

Remembering veterans
In years past, Chartwell London has celebrated Remembrance Day by hosting a special ceremony and inviting the local Cadet Core, Legion, and high school to participate along with the residents, their families, volunteers and staff members. The morning starts off with a two-minute moment of silence to reflect on those who fought for their nation. With war having touched so many residents, it's important to Chartwell London to celebrate in a unique way each year.

"We felt it was important to do something to remind people how fortunate we are to live in Canada, and we wanted to do something visual to remind people of the cost of our freedom," said Adamson. "This project has given an opportunity for others to hear – and tell – the stories of veterans who touched their lives."

To read more about how Chartwell is honouring its veterans this Remembrance Day, click here.