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Bleuets of France
Charlotte Malleterre and Suzanne Lenhardt, head nurses, created a workshop at the Institution nationale des Invalides in 1925. Bleuets made of fabric were sold as a way to restore an active place in society for residents through donations.
The Bleuet is now a symbol of solidarity. It recalls the horizontal blue uniform that the young recruits, the "Bleuets", wore when they joined their elders, the "Poilus", on the battlefields. The Bleuet is recognized as the French flower of remembrance, the one that grew in the mud of the trenches, the only colourful note in a devastated landscape, along with the poppy. After all, blue is also one of the colours of the French Nation and the first colour of the French flag.
During the Great War, a strange phenomenon was observed. On the lands devastated by shellfire, along the trenches and near the battlefields, a blood-red flower, the poppy, blossomed.
The red poppy, a native plant along most of the First World War's western front, has become an eloquent symbol of remembrance. It is the main emblem of The Royal Canadian Legion, which distributes millions of them each year for Canadians to wear on Remembrance Day.
In Commonwealth countries (United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand...), the poppy will therefore be associated with the memory of combatants, especially soldiers who died in the First World War. Today, the Anglo-Saxon tradition of wearing a paper poppy in memory of the Great War is becoming more universal.
These two enduring symbols mark the memory of those who have lost their lives in serving their country.