PEARTREE LIFE: Experiencing Languages

Remembrance day and the poppy symbol

11th November nowadays is known as Remembrance Day or, informally, Poppy Day. But what do we remember? And why Poppy Day?

11th November is a memorial day, observed since the end of the First World War to remember all the soldiers who died in the line of duty and to recall the end of hostilities between the countries involved in war. In fact, formally, the armistice was signed by Germany and Entente’s representatives "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month". The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I was more than 38 million: there were over 17 million deaths and 20 million wounded, ranking it among the deadliest conflicts in human history.

Each year at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we observe a Two Minute Silence. Armistice Day on 11th November marks the end of the First World War and is a day to remember and honour those who have paid the price for our freedom.

In the United Kingdom, the main observance is on the Sunday nearest to 11th November, called Remembrance Sunday, which this year is on 13th November. Ceremonies are held at local war memorials, usually organised by local branches of the Royal British Legion, an association for ex-servicemen. Typically, poppy wreaths are laid by representatives of the Crown, the armed forces, and local civic leaders, as well as by local organisations. The red poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem "In Flanders Fields" written by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae after losing a friend in Ypres and inspired by the sight of poppies growing in battle-scarred fields. The poppy became a symbol of Remembrance and hope since it is a delicate but resilient flower, flourishing even in the middle of chaos and destruction.

Nowadays, the observance is not linked anymore to just the First World War, but also to the other conflicts that took place after that, the Second World War and recent conflicts as well, such as the Korean War, First and Second Gulf War (in Iraq), the Balkans War and the War in Afghanistan.
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Peartree Languages is a language school located in Cardiff.