Poppies on the Green display remembrance for Memorial Day

by Trish Rudder

In honor and remembrance of fallen soldiers, red ceramic poppies made by Warm Springs Intermediate School students were placed on the Fairfax Green to celebrate Memorial Day.

Art teacher at Warm Springs Intermediate School, Marianna Ruggiero, and Morgan Arts Council artist, Lynn Lavin, placed 390 poppies – one made by each of the school’s students — on the Green with help from volunteers, Ruggiero said last Thursday.

Ruggiero said the Poppy Project came to fruition with the $2,000 grant funding through the WV Department of Art, Culture and History and from the Morgan Arts Council.

By combining art and history, the intermediate school students were taught about Flanders Fields in Belgium during World War I and learned how the poppy flower came to be a symbol of honor and remembrance for fallen soldiers.

Ruggiero said she was “pleasantly surprised” that the students “took the lesson to heart and saw the meaning behind the poppy.”

“The kids were more respectful with the knowledge of this project,” she said.

The poem “In Flanders Fields” was written in 1915 by John McCrae, a Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel in the First World War. Flanders Fields is a common English name of the World War I battlefields in Belgium and France.

“Its references to the red poppies that grew over the graves of fallen soldiers resulted in the remembrance poppy becoming one of the world’s most recognized memorial symbols for soldiers who have died in conflict,” said scholars.

Lavin worked with Ruggiero at the intermediate school to show the students how to make the poppies.

Each bloom is attached to thin steel stems that were placed on the Green near the Fairfax Green monuments.

The Fairfax Green – the median strip that divides the two lanes of East Fairfax Street – displays monuments honoring those Morgan Countians who fought in wars from the American Civil War to Vietnam.

Lavin said the students wrote their names on the top of their poppy to identify theirs more easily and were kept together by class.

The poppies were to be removed on Tuesday, May 31.

Lavin said one of the students said she would give her poppy to her grandfather, a veteran.

The ceramic poppies made by the Warm Springs Intermediate students were placed on the Fairfax Green to celebrate Memorial Day.