If you visit the Uk around this time of year, you will notice many people wear a poppy on their lapel e.g. BBC news readers. You will find them for sale in news agents, supermarkets etc
Just in case you are wondering what the poppies are about they commemorate the end of WWI when on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month the Armistice was signed, on 11th November 1918, to signal the end of World War One.
This day and the poppies have become the symbol of remembrance for all of those who lost their lives in any war. And hopefully a symbol to remind us all of the horrors of war so that it never happens ever again.
The total number of casualties in World War I, both military and civilian, were about 37 million: 16 million deaths and 21 million wounded. It is estimated that over 800,000 horses were killed in the line of duty with the British Forces on the Belgium Front. Over 40,000 war dogs were killed while serving with the Allied Armies.
Many soldiers never recovered from the gas weapons who would blind them and from the shock of the horrors of war. This is a real footage clip from WWI.
WARNING: IT CONTAINS DISTURBING IMAGES
In the part of Europe where the longest battles were, in the border between France and Belgium, there was complete devastation;buildings, roads, trees and natural life simply disappeared.
Only one living thing survived and that was the poppy, flowering each year with the coming of the warm weather. It brought life, hope, colour and reassurance to those still fighting.
Poppies on flower in rooted up soil. Their seeds can lay in the ground for years without germinating and only grow after the ground has been disturbed.
That is how they have become the symbol for Remembrance Day.
A group of British soldiers wrote about their experiences in this war, they became know as the War Poets. This is one of the most famous poems
Anthem For Doomed Youth – by Wilfred Owen – read by Kenneth Branagh
The ‘Last Post’
The “Last Post” is traditionally played to introduce the two minute 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.)