AS THE YEAR DRAWS TO A CLOSE AND WE TURN OUR THOUGHTS TO THE COMING CELEBRATIONS THAT SURROUND CHRISTMAS ,IT IS WORTH PAUSING TO THINK ABOUT THE LOVED ONES THAT NEVER MADE IT HOME TO THE ARMS OF THEIR LOVED ONES FOR CHRISTMAS, FOLLOWING THE TWO WORLD WARS……AND THEY ARE NOT THE ONLY WARS THAT HAVE TAKEN THE LIVES OF OUR BRAVE WARRIORS …WE MUST ALSO BE MINDFUL OF THE MOST RECENT CONFLICTS THAT HAVE BROUGHT DEVASTATION AND SORROW TO SO MANY……..LEST WE FORGET.
SO ,THIS NOVEMBER WEEKEND WHEN YOU ARE DOING YOUR WEEKLY SHOP PLEASE GIVE GENEROUSLY. AND REMEMBER TO PAUSE TO OBSERVE THE TWO MINUTES SILENCE ON THE ELEVENTH HOUR…..
Please observe a moment of silent reflection,to remember – and honor – those we have lost.
If not for those brave souls, we may not be enjoying freedom as we do today.
Inscription of the complete poem in a bronze “book” at the John McCrae memorial at his birthplace in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
This beautiful poem was written by
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD,
of the Canadian Army(1872-1918)
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.
November is the time of the year when we wear a red poppy in memory of those who sacrificed their lives for us in times of conflict.
The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month marks the signing of the Armistice,on the 11th November 1918, to signal the end of World War One.
At 11 am on Monday November 11th 1918 the guns of the Western front fell silent after more than four and a half years of continuous warfare.
WHAT IS POPPY DAY?
Remembrance Day is on 11th November. It is a special day set aside to remember all those brave men and women who sacrificed their lives during the two Major Wars and all the other conflicts that have taken place since. At one time that day was known as Armistice Day and was renamed after the Second World War.
Remembrance Sunday is held on the second Sunday in November,which is usually the Sunday nearest to November 11th. Special services are held at war memorials and churches all over Britain.
A war memorial in Sevenoaks Kent
A national ceremony takes place at the Cenotaph in Whitehall ,London. The Queen lays the first wreath at the Cenotaph
Wreaths are laid beside war memorials by companies,clubs and societies. People also leave small wooden crosses beside the memorials in remembrance of a family member who died in the conflicts.
Why is the poppy a symbol of remembrance?
THE ‘LAST POST’
The ”Last Post” is traditionally played to introduce the two minutes silence in Remembrance Day ceremonies. It is usually played on a bugle. ( In military life ‘The Last Post’ marks the end of the day and the final farewell. )
The souding of ”Reveille” (or, more commonly ”The Rouse”) is played at the end of the two minute silence.followed by ”The Ode Of Remembrance”.
Fourth Stanza of the poem ”For The Fallen” by Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)
You can read the whole poem here
Photograph of a Chelsea Pensioner (British ex-servicemen) selling poppies in London.
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.
At 11am on each Remembrance Sunday a two minute silence is observed at war memorials and other public spaces across the UK.
Prime Minister Lloyd George asked architect Edward Lutyens to design a structure for a Peace Day parade in London. Lutyens sketched a design on the back of a napkin and a temporary version of the Cenotaph was erected. Nearly 15,000 troops took part but many veterans refused to participate in what they saw as ‘militaristic celebrations’. Four days before the first anniversary of Armistice Day, King George V announced that a two minute silence would be observed.
The First Two Minute Silence in London (11th November 1919) as reported in the Manchester Guardian, 12th November 1919.
‘The first stroke of eleven produced a magical effect.
The tram cars glided into stillness, motors ceased to cough and fume, and stopped dead, and the mighty-limbed dray horses hunched back upon their loads and stopped also, seeming to do it of their own volition.
Someone took off his hat, and with a nervous hesitancy the rest of the men bowed their heads also. Here and there an old soldier could be detected slipping unconsciously into the posture of ‘attention’. An elderly woman, not far away, wiped her eyes, and the man beside her looked white and stern. Everyone stood very still … The hush deepened. It had spread over the whole city and become so pronounced as to impress one with a sense of audibility. It was a silence which was almost pain … And the spirit of memory brooded over it all.’
Click here for information on World War 2
In New Zealand it is celebrated with dawn services at the cenotaphs and at NZ Embassies around the world. The poppy is used as a symbol of remembrance.
Anzac Day falls on April 25th and is a public holiday in Australia.