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Remembrance Day - Poppy Day

Remembrance Day - Poppy Day


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Many countries have a special day to remember those that fell in their wars; America has Veterans Day, while France has Armistice Day. The British commemorate those who fought, and are still fighting, in wars for their country on Remembrance Day.

The British Remembrance Day is always held on the 11 November. This is the day that World War One ended in 1918, when the armistice was signed in Compiègne, Northern France, at 5am. Six hours later, the fighting stopped, and to commemorate this there is a two minute silence in the UK at 11am, every 11 November.

The period of silence was first proposed by a Melbourne journalist, Edward George Honey, in a letter published in the London Evening News on 8 May 1919, which subsequently came to the attention of King George V. On 7 November, 1919, the king issued a proclamation which called for a two-minute silence:

All locomotion should cease, so that, in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead.
As well as the two-minute silence, there are marches around the country by war veterans. The Royal Family, along with leading politicians, gather at the Cenotaph, a large war memorial in Whitehall, in London.

The nearest Sunday to the 11th is called Remembrance Sunday, when church services are held in honour of those involved in wars, and wreaths are laid on the memorials which have a place in every town. Many two-minute silences are followed by a lone bugler playing The Last Post, reminiscent of times of war when trumpets were as much a part of battle as bayonets. A poem called 'For the Fallen' is often read aloud on the occasion; the most famous stanza of which reads:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Fourth stanza of 'For the Fallen' by Laurence Binyon (1869 - 1943)
These words can be found adorning many war memorials across the country. The author, Laurence Binyon, was never a soldier but certainly appreciated the horrors of war.

Remembrance day is taken very seriously, with disrespect being avoided at all costs (which is why the vandalisation of the Cenotaph on 1 May 2000 was seen as such a horrific crime). If 11 November falls on a weekday, schools, workplaces and shopping centres generally attempt to observe the silence, although some people choose to ignore their attempts and go about their business regardless.


Remembrance Day is also known as Poppy Day, because it is traditional to wear an artificial poppy. They are sold by the Royal British Legion, a charity dedicated to helping war veterans, although they do not have a fixed price - they rely on donations.

The motto of the British Legion is Remember the dead; don't forget the living, and they are campaigners for issues relating to war veterans, especially elderly ones.

The poppies are worn because in World War One the Western Front contained in the soil thousands of poppy seeds, all lying dormant. They would have lain there for years more, but the battles being fought there churned up the soil so much that the poppies bloomed like never before. The most famous bloom of poppies in the war was in Ypres, a town in Flanders, Belgium, which was crucial to the Allied defence. There were three battles there, but it was the second, which was calamitous to the allies since it heralded the first use of the new chlorine gas the Germans were experimenting with, which brought forth the poppies in greatest abundance, and inspired the Canadian soldier, Major John McCrae, to write his most famous poem. This, in turn, inspired the British Legion to adopt the poppy as their emblem.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae (1872 - 1918)
The American Moira Michael from Georgia, was the first person to wear a poppy in remembrance. In reply to McCrae's poem, she wrote a poem entitled 'We shall keep the faith' which includes the lines:

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
She bought some poppies, wore one, and sold the others, raising money for ex-servicemen. Her colleague, French YMCA Secretary Madame Guerin, took up the idea and made artificial poppies for war orphans. It caught on.

In November 1921, the British Legion and Austrian Returned Sailor's and Soldier's League sold them for the first time.

The tragic events in New York on 11 September 2001, left ever increasing numbers of people feeling stronger than ever the need for peace. This, in turn, prompted the manufacture of white poppies to represent peace. They are not a new idea, though. In fact, they date from 1933, having been designed by a UK Women's Guild. The British Legion was invited to produce them twice, in 1933 and 1988, but they not only declined, they also refused to accept the proceeds from them, because they were seen as disrespectful by some soldiers. They are having a surge in popularity once again as people stop feeling as safe as they once did.

Courtesy of the BBC

British Legion [link]
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© 2007 - 2021 daliscar
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rhooge's avatar
May I use this photo on my FB and Twitter pages?
daliscar's avatar
Yes no problem ;-)
I would like to use this stunning image  in the book I have just finished , about my great grandfather who died in 1916. The book is not for sale but will be a gift to all his surviving grandchildren and great grandchildren. May I?
daliscar's avatar
Yes no problem with credit :-)
We would like to use this excellent image on 1st August when we name all the stall sin our market place with the names of all our towns fallen, this would be perfect to go at the side of each individuals name, rank, date and age on death, where lived in town.
daliscar's avatar
You are very welcome to use it :-)
I would like to use this as a profile picture on Facebook for the day of the 11th. My father fought in WWII in Burma and my partner is a CO in the British Royal Marines. I do some pupil support assistant work at our local school and we are showing children how social media can be used in a responsible, safe and respectful way and not a way simply to gossip, be disrespectful and to hurt or bully others. 
This is a striking image you have produced
daliscar's avatar
Please feel free to use it :-)

I would like to use your image as the background image for a presentation I will be giving to our local Cubs & Scouts.

Thank you.
daliscar's avatar
No problem hope it goes well :-)
DisplacedSoutherner's avatar
this is stunning. thank you for honoring the fallen heroes. never forget, my friend, never forget. :salute: :flagus:
beexfeatheryduster's avatar
To be totally honest with you, when I was searching for a cover picture for my poem, this picture jumped straight out at me so I investigated, simply because of how perfect it is. It sums it all up really, and it makes me proud to know that one other person actually has some decency and respect.

Thank you. Thank you very much.
daliscar's avatar
Respect to you :iconpoppyplz:
ShardsOfCloud's avatar
Hello, this is a lovely picture. I put it as the cover picture for a poem on here. Here's the link if you want >[link]

If you don't want the cover pic to be on just tell me and I'll remove it :)
daliscar's avatar
Great poem so I am more than happy to have my work associated with it :-) thanks for letting me know. :iconpoppyplz:
ShardsOfCloud's avatar
awww! Thank you soo much XD :iconspazhugplz:
MonstArt's avatar
gemUK1983's avatar
i read your words and i loved the picture so much i have it as my facebook profile picture...i hope that's ok!
your're was the most powerful one i could find!
daliscar's avatar
No worries thanks :-) :iconpoppyplz:
cr8zygr1's avatar
I've also used your picture for my Facebook; I've made sure a link to the picture's page is available to any who may wish to come check out your works. Thank you for allowing us to use your picture to remember the fallen.
daliscar's avatar
Thank you, I wish all the others that use it were as honest as you :-)
lhalliday's avatar
Your picture is so powerful, I work in a Learning Resources Centre (Library) at South Downs College Library and have used your image in one of three Remembrance displays. I've had so many comments about how powerful your image is so thought I'd let you know. I'm going to now print out the information you have written and display that also. Thanks for sharing!
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