I’ve written about GPS art a few times in the past, mostly because I find the marriage of art, technology and exercise both interesting and beautiful. So, while Veteran’s Day has already passed, when I read this story about a disabled war veteran creating a poppy on the streets of London to help raise money, awareness and support of war veterans around the country, I had to share it.
In the US, UK, Canada and several other countries around the world, red poppies have become to represent remembrance of the fallen soldiers and the sacrifices by those in the military service in defense of their country. These little red flowers are often handed out by military veterans and adorn windows around the middle of November, thanks to a poem written by John McCrae called “In Flander’s Fields.”
This year, 27-year-old British war veteran Ben McBean ran a total of 31 miles to draw the outline of a remembrance poppy on the streets of London. Then McBean, who was grievously injured in Afghanistan in 2008 and has a prosthetic leg, called to the public to run around the city and color in the flower. The public took up the call and ran more than 7,500 miles, coloring in the poppy almost completely as of yesterday and raising more than $23,000 (£ 15,000).
McBean told The Mirror in an interview that he wasn’t doing it to get press–the project was all about honoring veterans.
“I want people to do it, I think the main thing is remembering what happened 100 years ago… Even now [after Iraq and Afghanistan], the parents of soldiers who have died in battle are living with that, that’s why I did the run, it’s all about remembering,” McBean said.