You may have noticed that a lot of your teachers and classmates have been wearing poppies over the past few weeks; but what do they mean and why do people wear them?
Every year, on 11th November, the UK remembers those who have sacrificed themselves for the sake of our freedom. Remembrance Day is a day to reflect on those who have fought and are still fighting in the British Armed Forces. As a nation, we unite to honour all who have suffered or died in the war, and to ensure that the sacrifices made by these people and their families are never forgotten. At 11am the country takes part in a two-minute silence as it marks the day WWI ended, at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month, back in 1918.
On Remembrance Sunday, the 2nd Sunday in November, The National Service of Remembrance is held at The Cenotaph in Whitehall. During the service, the Queen, representatives of the armed forces and other important political figures pay tribute. Members of the public can also attend the service and the event is broadcast live on national television.
So why do the British wear poppies?
The Royal British Legion sell poppies to the public in aid of their annual ‘Poppy Appeal’. The money raised from the sale of these poppies is used to help war veterans and their families.
In 2014, artists Paul Cummins and Tom Piper filled the moat of the Tower of London with 888,246 ceramic poppies, each representing the death of a British or commonwealth soldier. This was to mark the 100-year anniversary of Britain’s first full day's involvement in the First World War.
Symbols of Remembrance
Red Poppies – These are traditional symbols of remembrance. Our use of the poppy was inspired by the World War I poem "In Flanders Fields", which is written from the viewpoint of the dead soldiers. The poem tells us that the first flowers to grow on the soldiers' graves in Flanders, were red poppies.
White Poppies – The white poppy and white poppy wreaths were introduced by Britain's Co-operative Women's Guild in 1933. They represent a plea for ongoing peace around the world and some people like to wear them above their red poppies.
Purple Paws – This is a fairly new symbol of remembrance in the UK and is used to commemorate animal victims of war. Animal Aid in Britain has issued the purple paw to be worn alongside the traditional red poppy, as a reminder that both humans and animals have been – and continue to be – victims of war.
Wearing a poppy is a personal choice and reflects individual and personal memories. It is not compulsory in the UK but it is greatly appreciated by those it helps.
Posted on November 11st, 2015 @ 11:56 AM