This morning Kelly, Juno and I all went out to visit the Australian War Memorial to see the handcrafted poppies display.
The 11th November 2018 marks the centenary of the end of the First World War, and to mark the occasion 62,000 handcrafted poppies have been planted in the memorial’s grounds. The poppies were knitted and crocheted by volunteers from all over the world and each one represents a life lost in the first world war.
The poppies are a small part of the 5,000 poppies project which began back in 2013 when two women, Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight produced 120 crafted poppies to plant at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne in honour of their fathers war service.
This small but heartfelt tribute resonated outwards and triggered a community response producing thousands upon thousands of poppies that were crafted from all over the world and displayed in shows and commemorations. You can see some of them over at the 5,000 poppies webpage.
Approaching the garden it was a sea of red flowers, which on closer inspection, resolved into a variegation of individual works of art. Different shades of colour, differing yarns, some were constructed with a rudimentary poppiness whilst others were intricate with shades of crepe red and black, and petals curled in singles, doubles, peony and tulip swirls.
Each pistil, the black centre of the poppy was unique, many had buttons or badges or other objects sewn in.
A little further up the hill we came across a statue of a soldier and his dog (photo at the top of this post). Juno was immediately engaged as the base of the statue included 2 bronze dog bowls filled with fresh water. He took his fill and then looking up at the dog, lifted a leg in salute and marked his approval. This seemed most appropriate.
Dogs were first used as message carriers on the French battle field by the Royal Australian Engineers in 1918. By 1944 the 1st Australian Dog Platoon had been formed. They have had a long and important role to play in most military conflicts since then. Today Explosive Detection Dogs (EDD) have provided critical support to Australian soldiers the battlefield, locating improvised explosive devices as well as caches of ammunition and weapons. And I am certain they also provide a huge emotional support when engaging with soldiers.
The EDD Ode:
My eyes are your eyes to watch and protect yours.
My ears are your ears to detect evil minds in the dark.
My nose is your nose to scent the danger of your domain.
And so you may live, my life is also your life.