The 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War has been movingly commemorated at the Tower of London by the planting of a ceramic poppy for every one of the almost 900,000 British and Commonwealth deaths during the war.
We visited on Wednesday evening as it was getting dark. The sea of red was a stark reminder of the scale of the carnage. How lucky we are to live in an era of relative peace.
The poppies themselves are beautiful. Here, near Traitor’s Gate, you can see the stems.
Not everyone is so moved. Jonathan Jones in the Guardian mocked the poppy pageant as false and trite. His argument hardly convinced: he says the poppies represent British losses and so represented a nationalistic tribute. Hardly – they include Commonwealth losses. In any case, his view of the poppies as glorifying war is the same as the regular criticism of the annual poppy appeal as perpetuating war. The British people are more sensible than newspaper writers.