The Alabama Poppy Project will begin its annual “planting of the poppies” Friday May 26 in Prattville at Spillway Park in celebration of Memorial Day. The event commemorates fallen veterans with an exhibition of ceramic poppies crafted by Julianne Hansen Fine Arts and Poetry.
How it began
Artist Julianne Hansen and her husband Steve lost their son Kyle in 2017. Kyle served as a pilot in the Air Force, flying C-17 aircrafts, similar to the airliner his paternal grandfather piloted.
His passing, in addition to a World War I poem, inspired Julianne to honor Kyle’s legacy and all who served in the armed forces.
Julianne said the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae moved her to create the Alabama Poppy Project. The poem generated her idea to use the poppy symbol.
In Flanders Fields
By John Mccrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Julianne’s special poppies
Each individually crafted ceramic poppy can be personalized with the addition of a satin string. Friends and family have the opportunity to attach a string with the name of their loved one during a ribbon placement ceremony. Those who sponsor one can keep the poppy in memory of them. Hansen says that each poppy can take up to two weeks to complete. Hansen’s shop has will produced over 2,000 poppies for the event.
How you can contribute to the poppy project
Individuals can join the Alabama Poppy Project by volunteering as a docent. Volunteers must be adults or older teens. Here is the link to become one. More volunteers are currently needed.
The exhibit will be open from May 26-31. On May 26 there will be a ribbon placement from 4:00-7:00 PM and an opening ceremony from 7:15 PM to sunset.
If you would like to sponsor a poppy, you can visit alabamapoppyproject.com or call Julianne Hansen Fine Art & Pottery at 334-301-0336.
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