Over the last few years, since moving to the UK, every November, I see the Poppy Appeal; I buy one or more and wear them with pride. I even have one from Canada, from years back when I volunteered for the Romanian Invictus Team. And I always wanted a flower representing my country that I could wear alongside the poppy.
I have it now. Starting this September, the Paeonia Peregrina Romanica is the official flower of Romania. So this will be the first official year for us to wear the Romanian Peony to mark Veterans Day.
We have used the Romanian Peony since 2014, when we also marked Veterans Day for the first time in November. But this year is the first when the Peony is Romania’s official flower.
In Romania, we also celebrate Veterans’ Day on 29 April, a date chosen in connection with the country’s history. Similar to significance, the one in April is focused on the veterans from Independence, First, and Second World Wars, while the one in November focuses on veterans from modern conflicts, named Veterans Day from Theaters of Operations.
There was a long and assiduous process from that year of 2014 till this year’s official recognition of the Peony. It was a collaboration between civil society, academia, members of the armed forces, media, and part of the political class that understood the necessity and benefits of the project. Substantial contributions to the campaign started by Conf Univ. Dr Florin Toma, from the Faculty of Horticulture of USAMV Bucharest, were made by members of the communities “Bujorul Romanesc” (the Romanian Peony), “La Blouse Roumaine”, and volunteers of Invictus Romania.
From now on, it is on all of us to promote the Peony. To make it grow into a symbol not just of the Romanian people but also of the sacrifice made by the members of its Armed Forces.
On a personal note, my small contribution is the creation of the design of the Peony that you can see in the picture, although I have no drawing talent. And the pledge to promote the Peony and the sacrifice of our veterans as much as I can.
Lest We Forget!
Marcella Dragan, Editor-in-Chief, Tactica Magazine