Carte postale ancienne Fleur de France, le Bleuet.@ credits
In the language of flowers, the cornflower symbolizes delicacy and timidity, and indicates that a message has a pure, innocent, or delicate intention.
The cornflower – like the poppy – continued to grow in land devastated by the thousands of shells which were launched daily by the entrenched armies of the Western Front. These flowers were often the only visible evidence of life, and the only sign of color in the mud of the trenches.
At the same time, the term “bluets” was used also to refer to the class of conscripted soldiers born in 1895 who arrived in the lead-up to the Second Battle of the Aisne, because of the horizon blue uniform worn by French soldiers after 1915.
The origin of the badge dates to 1916. Suzanne Lenhardt, head nurse in Les Invalides and widow of a Colonial Infantry captain killed in 1915, and Charlotte Malleterre, sister of Général Gustave Léon Niox and the wife of Général Gabriel Malleterre, both moved by the suffering endured by the war wounded for whom they were responsible and faced with the necessity to give them an active task, decided to organize workshops where cornflower badges were made from tissue paper. These badges were sold to the public at various times, and the revenues generated by this permitted them to give these men a small income. They gradually became a symbol of the rehabilitation of soldiers through labor.