Field of more than 1,400 poppies in Peru honors WWI veterans

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PERU, Ind. – This Veterans Day marks 100 years since the end of World War I. Fighting stopped on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. A group called Miami County Indiana Worth Remembering wanted to commemorate the anniversary.

Alexandria Blong and Regine Brindle are both members of the organization. They realized there was no record of WWI veterans with strong ties to Miami County. After a year of tireless work, they were able to change that.

“We started out with 400. It grew through research, newspapers and official records,” said Brindle.

They came up with a list of nearly 1,500 WWI veterans. As the 100th anniversary of the Great War approached, they wanted to find a way to remember their service.

Blong and Brindle decided to create a poppy field in front of Peru’s court house. With help from more than 1,000 county residents, they made roughly 1,500 ceramic poppies to put on the front lawn. The flower became a symbol of WWI and this weekend it is representing a veteran with strong ties to their country.

“Let’s educated the public and let’s educate the community on the war,” Blong said.

Hundreds in the community, including school children, helped place them. The display is touching family members of veterans.

“When I came here Saturday, they were doing some poppies and I started crying ‘cause I think it is such an emotional thing,” said Pam Poff, a granddaughter of a WWI veteran.

Poff’s grandfather enlisted when he was 17 years old after permission from his mother. Poff felt pride knowing strangers still remember his fight for our country.

“I think it means America really believes in freedom,” she said.

This is the largest art installation in Miami County. Relatives of veterans will get to place more than 100 poppies on the lawn Saturday. They will get to go home with one and the remaining poppies will be given away to VA hospitals, sponsoring groups, and other supporters.

The display will be up until November 15.

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