Remembrance Day 2020
Remembrance Day is the second Sunday in November; on the evening before, there is the Royal British Legion’s Festival of Remembrance, which ends with the symbolic falling of poppy petals and a two minute silence in memory of those who lost their lives in times of war. Armistice Day always falls on 11 November; it marks the anniversary of the end of the First World War, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. This year, Armistice Day is a Wednesday. Remembrance Sunday 8 November. If you would like to make a poppy to wear as a mark of respect, Crafty Cavy offers free crochet designs here:
The Royal British Legion is inviting people to mark the two minute silence on Remembrance Day by standing on the doorstep, in order to observe lockdown restrictions.
1. Why are poppies used as a symbol of remembrance?
Poppies will grow on recently disturbed ground, and after hostilities ceased at the end of The Great War (as WWI is also known), it was found that the battlefields were flooded with the red of poppies in bloom. The end of WWI was formally ratified by the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919.
2. Armistice Day & Remembrance Sunday
While Armistice Day is 11 November, Remembrance Day is the second Sunday in November. Usually there is a parade with service personnel presenting poppy wreaths to be laid at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, but with the second phase of lockdown the traditional ceremony will not take place this year; there will be a smaller televised service. The two minute silence will still be held at 11am, with a smaller ceremony as explained on the BBC website.
Although Remembrance Day initially marked the end of the First World War, it now recognises those who paid the ultimate price in every conflict since then.
3. Wreath Laying
Poppy wreaths are laid at the Cenotaph in memory of the fallen in military conflicts. Usually there is a march-past of veterans, and wreaths are laid by members of the royal family, senior politicians, various dignitaries, military representatives and members of the Royal British Legion.
4. The Cenotaph as a Monument
The Cenotaph in Whitehall was designed by Edwin Landseer Lutyens, and was officially unveiled on 11 November 1920. This year marks the centenary of the unveiling of the permanent monument: a temporary version had been built in July 1919 as the focus for a peace parade. The word “cenotaph” means “empty tomb”.
6. Ceramic Poppies: Display and Fundraising
The 888,246 ceramic poppies were made by hand using techniques that would have been in use 100 years ago; each poppy represented a WWI British military fatality. At the end of the display, each poppy was sold to raise funds which were shared equally between six service charities. In 2018, a display of lights was hosted by the Tower of London to mark the centenary of the end of WWI. [image: hrp.org.uk]
7. What do the Different Poppies Represent?
The original poppy as a symbol of remembrance is red, but other colours have been introduced over the years for particular focus. The Remembrance Poppy, a red poppy, is a trademark of the Royal British Legion, which sells poppies to raise funds for British Armed Forces and their dependents.
Read more about different colour poppies and what they represent here.
8. White Poppies
The Co-operative Women’s Guild introduced the white poppy in 1933 to focus on peace, and remember all casualties in war, civilian as well as military.
The white poppy is now circulated by the Peace Pledge Union, and the emphasis is on striving to achieve peace for the benefit of all.
9. Black Poppies
Several meanings are associated with black poppies: WWI conscientious objectors, protests against war in Iraq, and the contribution from black, African and Caribbean communities (read more at Black Poppy Rose). [image: blackpoppyrose.org]
10. Purple Poppies and Purple Paw Prints
The purple poppy was introduced by the charity Animal Aid to recognise animals as victims of war. Many horses were shipped overseas to be used in WWI, but they were not brought back home at the end of the conflict. Other animals have also been employed, including mules, dogs and pigeons. The purple paw print was introduced to remember animals throughout the year.
11. Will you wear a poppy for Remembrance Day?
The different poppies can be worn alone or in combination with each other. Which would you choose to wear – if at all, and why? Please share your views in the comments. [image source BBC]
12. Make your own poppy
There’s also a simple leaf pattern, that can be worn with the Remembrance Day poppy. Don’t forget to make a donation to the poppy appeal!
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