A colorful remembrance

Hundreds of ceramic poppies are placed and tagged with names of fallen soldiers by Cannon Falls teachers.


Nathan Baszuro

Cascading down the hill from the Colville Memorial are 577 ceramic poppies placed by the teaching staff at Cannon Falls Schools.

As Memorial Day is approaching rapidly, a project that was started in 2019 has once again been renewed. Although this is a relatively new project it is widely supported. Gorgeous red ceramic poppies are “planted” by members of the Cannon Falls community to remember and show respect for those who have served this country. Red poppies were chosen because soldiers from World War I saw red poppies in Flanders fields on the Western Front. Mrs. Hernke, an art teacher at Cannon Falls, is heavily involved with this project and she is very proud of what has been created, “We started by representing the veterans in the Cannon Falls cemetery across from the high school.” This project is now four years old and has expanded to churches such as the Urland Church and the Spring Garden Church who have joined together with this project. With each poppy representing one veteran, there are now 577 poppies to honor those who have served our country within these three churches in the surrounding Cannon Falls area. 

CFHS English teacher Holly Winget helps Ukraine exchange student Sonya Milkova tag poppies with names of veterans (Nathan Baszuro)

Pitching in to help tag the poppies in the cemetery was Sonya Milkova, a Ukrainian foreign exchange student finishing her year in Cannon Falls. The irony of the moment was not lost for CFHS teacher John Fogarty, who worked with Milkova on projects for the Lantern. “It was amazing to watch a young person tag memorials in America to fallen soldiers, when thousands in her own country are dying in yet another war.”

There is an information stand that was built by teacher Mr. Sampson and his advanced woods class near the poppies at the Covill Memorial . Mr. Sampson, however, gives most of the credit for the work to his crew. “A few of my advanced woods students were a great help with this. Carter Z, Isaiah T, Jaiden L, Noah M, and Brooklyn G took on this project.” With the help of these students, Mr. Sampson and his class were able to provide information that helps to illustrate to those who are not sure why this was started or just how close to home this memorial is for. These students are very proud of their work and the city and the families of those honored feel very grateful to all that have helped build this project up. Everyone is welcome to go there and pay their respects at any time. This year, those involved decided to put a display board with each of the veterans represented by a poppy. There is also a box for the public to submit names of veterans that may have been missed. If students wish to be involved next year they should reach out to Mrs. Hernke.