Remembrance ("Once Crimson Poppies Bloomed")
British Methodist pastor and hymn writer Andrew Pratt has composed this remarkable text for Veterans Day (USA) and Rembrance Day (British Commonwealth nations). Veterans/Remembrance Day, also known as Poppy Day or Armistice Day, is observed each year on November 11 to commemorate the end of World War I on that date in 1918 and to remember the members of the armed forces who died in the line of duty.
The "crimson poppies" in the opening line recall the red poppies that bloomed all across the worst World War I battlefields in Flanders and that grew in abundance over the graves of fallen soldiers, made so famous in the 1915 poem "In Flanders Field" by Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae.
The Rev. Pratt chose the title "Remembrance" over the customary opening line of text as title. The poignant and provocative text recalls the death that is at the heart of war, our human longing for peace even as we wage war, and ponders the causes of war: greed, race, pride, wealth, nationhood and creed. The final stanza concludes in a profound and exquisite act of remembrance of those who died in their service, whom even heaven remembers with "a loud amen."