The last time I was in the UK in November I was surprised to see almost everybody on the street wearing a Red Poppy on their lapel, jacket or raincoat from early October until Mid November. It seemed like one could buy these inexpensive plastic flowers on pretty much any street corner, but they were strangely flat and rather ugly looking. At the same time, they are a symbol of remembrance and hence I was totally fine with it. Nevertheless, I wasn’t entirely happy and tried to find a better, more realistic example of a poppy myself, but even in London and online I was without luck. Some websites had flowers that looked more three dimensional, but nothing looked like a real poppy. We always wanted to produce products of quality that last rather than throw-away-items that have to be rebought continuously. Ever since we offered Fort Belvedere boutonnieres, we have received requests for a poppy boutonniere, and so I knew I was not alone. After many prototypes, custom colors and experiments, we are very proud to finally present our selection of 3 Poppy Boutonnieres! If you take care of them, you should be able to wear them for years to come.
Why a poppy you might ask. Well, November 11, 1918 was Armistice Day and today it is Veterans Day in the U.S. and Remembrance Day in Great Britain. For that reason, millions of people wear a poppy pinned on their lapel to honor and commemorate all those you fought in the war and the one’s who suffered from it. Unfortunately, most people wear cheap plastic flowers that have no aesthetic value but are simply worn as a symbol for remembrance. Hence, we created out Fort Belvedere poppies to look like the real poppies from Flanders field in Belgium. So, why exactly Flanders field you might wonder, so let’s start at the beginning.
The History of the Remembrance Poppy
Flanders in Belgium was a battlefield during WWI. In May 1915, when a comrade of the Canadian soldier John McCrae died on Flanders Field, John decided to write a poem about it, and the red flanders poppies alongside the field inspired him to the following lines:
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.
Interestingly, the poppy didn’t really become a symbol for remembrance until November 9th, 1918. It was just two days before Armistice day, and the American woman Moina Michael was on duty at the YMCA Overseas War Secretaries’ headquarters in New York. During a moment of silence, she read the Poem of John McCrae “In Flanders Field Poppy” in a magazine and felt so deeply touched by it that she decided to always wear a red poppy on her lapel as a sign of remembrance for all the people who suffered from the war. Inspired by these lines, she also decided to get some poppies for decoration that day. Once the event was over, three men attending the conference handed her $10 to pay for the decorative flowers. Instead of pocketing the money, Moina Michael decided to buy 25 poppies for the delegates to wear. It took her a while before she found one large and twenty-four small orange red silk poppies at Wanamaker’s department store. She kept one for herself and handed out the other ones from men to wear on their lapels.
In the following two years, she actively tried to spread the word and to persuade governmental institutions to make the poppy the official flower and symbol of servicemen, servicewomen and people who suffered from the war. Finally, on September 29th, 1920, the National American Legion convened in Cleveland and declared the Flanders Fields Memorial Poppy as the United States’ national emblem of Remembrance.
What is so special about the Red Poppy boutonniere?
- Handmade – It is made by hand and the silk pedals are hand colored, and treated with the utmost attention to detail.
- Authentic look – most manmade boutonnieres look fake from 10 yards away and even more so up-close. Fort Belvedere poppy flowers were modeled after authentic poppies from Flanders field with great attention to detail in order to recreate a natural, authentic look.
- Made to be worn through the buttonhole – nothing looks more disgraceful than a boutonniere pinned to the lapel with a safety pin. Fortunately, these boutonnieres are designed just like real flowers to be worn through the buttonhole of your lapel.
- Size & proportion – the poppies on the street are flat, whereas the field poppy is delicate and three dimensional. Hence we experimented quite a while until we found the perfect balance for a lapel boutonniere flower, without sacrificing the genuine look
- Enduring investment – unlike real flowers or cheap poppies that are thrown away, Fort Belvedere poppies will look the same for years to come so you can wear it on every Remembrance Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day etc. Of course, it is also perfectly suited for everyday wear.
- All poppies come in the Fort Belvedere green signature gift box, which also serves as a great storage device when travelling.
- 3 Styles and colors– Poppies change in color and hence we offer a red, orange-red and orange poppy in different sizes. Get all three for just $90 with free shipping, so you can mix it up
- Part of the proceeds will be donated to Veteran Organizations in the U.S.