You might have noticed that in November each year many people wear bright red paper poppies. What are the poppies for? And why November? The First World War finally ended after four long and bloody years of fighting, on November 11th 1918.
The guns stopped on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Millions of people were killed in the war and millions more were injured. In the years since 1918, even more, people have died in wars around the world including, of course, World War Two.
November 11 was chosen back in 1919 as the special day each year when we would all think about and remember those who had died.
To this day, almost 100 years later, at 11am on November 11th many people across Britain stay silent for two minutes to think about those who died. At first, November 11 was known as Armistice Day because ‘armistice’ is the word used for an agreement between enemies to stop fighting. These days it is more usually called Remembrance Day or Poppy Day.
So, we know why November 11 is special, but why poppies? The story begins back in 1915, during World War One.
“In Flanders’ Fields, By John McCrae, 1915.
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. “
You may have noticed that in November each year lots of people wear bright red paper poppies.
But why are Poppies the symbol?
Well they were one on the only flowers that grew in the battlefields after World War one, and they only live for a short time like many of the young soldiers that died. The colour being bright Red was likened to the battlefield covered in blood!
Poppies are full of history and meaning and very special to lots of people.
The Royal British Legion