If you’ve grown up in the United Kingdom you’ll be more than aware of it, but if you’re just here visiting then Remembrance will be hard to miss. Suddenly poppies will appear everywhere, from people’s clothing to their cars. It’s a day every year in which we take time to remember those we’ve lost in combat.
Remembrance Day falls on 11 November, the day which in 1918 marked the end of hostilities in the first world war. Every year since this event, at 11am on 11 November, there has been a two minute silence across the Commonwealth, in honour of those we have lost, which over time has come to include the many lost in combat since the first world war. It is often marked with a parade in many areas, including Commonwealth countries that lost their men, with memorial wreaths of poppies placed upon the local war memorial, which unfortunately became commonplace in most towns.
The poppies that adorn these wreaths have become a widely used symbol of Remembrance Day. The summer after World War One ended saw poppies bloom upon Flanders fields, the site of some of the worst battles towards the end of the war. The bright red colour of the poppies was thought appropriate to mark the bloodshed that took place on those fields, as well as the flowers being a sign of how life has continued on.
The day is just as important for us today as it was for our ancestors. We’re still losing people in modern day combat and for their families it marks a day when our country shows their appreciation for the lives that have been lost in pursuit of peace. As the anniversaries since the Great War pass, it is up to our generation to continue to mark our respect for those that have given their lives for our country’s cause.
The Poppy Appeal will run in the weeks before 11 November where, for a small donation, a poppy can be bought and worn so individual members of the public can show their respect. It will be hard to miss them once they have begun selling – there are more people who wear poppies than don’t. When you pin on your poppy this November, remember the reason why you are wearing it, and the millions of lives you are commemorating.