County Road 12: Alabama poppy project

County Road 12: Alabama Poppy Project

PRATTVILLE, Ala. (WSFA) - Julianne and Steve Hansen have a passion for pottery.

″When you get on the wheel you can’t think about anything else," said Julianne Hansen with the Alabama Poppy Project. “You’re making something from nothing. You’re taking mud and making it into something productive that will last far beyond our existence.”

This is also a military family. They have several kids serving our country now, and one son Kyle, who passed away a few years ago. Memorial Day is very important to the Hansen family.

“It became a personal experience to us,” said Steve Hansen. “Every headstone became a live person.”

This year Julianne decided to do something to honor our heroes. It’s called the Alabama Poppy Project, all inspired by a poem.

“Since WWI John McCray wrote Flanders Fields,” said Julianne. “It’s a poem that talks about the poppies that spring up around the graves of WWI soldiers.”

Prattville couple making 1,000 ceramic flowers as part of the Alabama Poppy Project for Memorial Day.
Prattville couple making 1,000 ceramic flowers as part of the Alabama Poppy Project for Memorial Day.

Its been done before, but she wanted something for home. They’re making 1,000 ceramic poppies that will be on display in Prattville.

“A project like this gives people a chance to help remember, it’s not just an inscription on a headstone,” said Steve. “There’s a story behind every one of these people.”

It takes about a week to go from raw clay, shaped and molded, into the kiln, and then the finished product. When they admire the finished product, it creates some strong emotions.

″I wonder how many people that single poppy represents," said Julianne.

“It’s kind of like the military. You get all the batches of new recruits and they are raw and rough around the edges,” said Steve. “Later on they are bright and shiny and proud looking like that.”

Prattville couple making 1,000 ceramic flowers as part of the Alabama Poppy Project for Memorial Day.
Prattville couple making 1,000 ceramic flowers as part of the Alabama Poppy Project for Memorial Day.

You can help. You can make a donation and sponsor one of these poppies. You can even make it in honor of a loved one who served in the military. All the money raised will go to four non-profits: Restoration of The Alabama War Memorial, Support Committee for the Alabama National Cemetery, Autauga County Heritage Association, and Folds of Honor.

You can see all 1,000 ceramic poppies on display in Prattville for a week starting on Memorial Day. It will be off Court Street near Heritage Park in downtown Prattville.

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