One hundred years ago today, Great Britain entered the First World War, an occasion marked by a new art installation at the Tower of London. Unveiled this morning, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red will ultimately find 888,246 ceramic poppies filling the moat around the Tower, each handmade flower representing a fallen British or Colonial soldier. The evolving installation, by ceramic artist Paul Cummins with staging by set designer Tom Piper, will continue to grow over the course of the summer until the final poppy is symbolically planted on November 11, the day the First World War ended. All told, the poppy sea will stretch 16 acres around the historic castle. Individual flowers are available for purchase; proceeds benefit six veterans service organizations.
As I type, it’s twilight in London, the time when, every day during the installation, the names of 180 military personnel killed during World War I will be read aloud in a Roll of Honor followed by the “Last Post” played by a single bugler. A stunning spoken and visual memorial.