Month: October 2014

Tower of London Remembers

IMG_4525_Tower of London_1000x667

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford


We just returned from a month in London with side trips to Paris and Wales.  My hands-down favorite place in London is the Tower of London.  Since my last trip to London in 1986 this historical iconic site is now framed by modern buildings.  Offices across from the Thames are all glass in odd shapes, and reminds me a lot of downtown Dallas.  The sight created within me a dichotomy of emotions.  On the one hand, I’m at the Tower of London and Tower Bridge with all that bloody history, and overlooking it all are these slick, glass buildings that reflect the history away, acting as though it never existed.  That’s just the way it struck me.


IMG_4474_Tower of London_1000x667

Sea of Red Poppies (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford


The Tower of London is in the process of installing an exhibit called Tower of London Remembers the First World War.  888,246 ceramic poppies are being placed all around the Tower of London in what used to be the moat.  This number represents the number of Commonwealth fatalities during World War I.


IMG_4483_Tower of London_1000x667

The Tower Bleeds (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford


Ceramic artist Paul Cummins and Stage Designer Tom Piper were commissioned to create the exhibit.  Volunteers began placing the poppies August 5th.  The last poppy will be placed on November 11, 2014.  After the exhibit is over poppies can be purchased with proceeds going to charities.  Google the Tower Of London for details.


IMG_4489_Tower of London_1000x667

A Volunteer Places a Poppy (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford


The exhibit can be best seen from walkways on Tower Hill surrounding the Tower of London.  It was very crowded the day we visited.  However, except for low murmurs and the clicking of cameras observers were quiet and reflective.  It is quite a sight, hundreds of thousands of red poppies pouring out of the tower and pooling around its base.  One poppy per Life Lost.  Let that sink in as you look at these images.


IMG_4470_Tower of London_1000x667

The Tower and the Poppies (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford


Each day in the moat at sundown the names of 180 Commonwealth troops killed during World War I are read aloud as part of the Roll of Honor.  I’ve never seen a more moving display.


IMG_4503_Tower of London_1000x667

Closeup of Poppies (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford


888,246 poppies = 888,246 lives lost in World War I by the British Commonwealth.