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What is Remembrance Day and Why Do we Wear Poppies?

What is Remembrance Day?Remembrance Day, poppies

Remembrance Day (also known as Armistice Day) is on 11th November. On this day in 1918, World War I (the Great War) ended. To be exact, the war ended at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month (11am on 11th November).

Every year on this day at 11am, there is a 2 minute silence for us to remember all the people who were killed in the First World War and in all the wars since then. This is known as Remembrance Day. If you are in the UK, you will probably be aware of this as most people will stop what they are doing and stand in silence for 2 minutes. Most people stop their cars, stand still in the middle of a street or supermarket, stop what they are doing at work and your English teachers might even stop your English language class and ask you to stand. If you are watching an English TV channel or listening to an English radio station, they will also usually go silent for 2 minutes.

What is Remembrance Sunday?

Remembrance Sunday takes place on the second Sunday of November (this year it will be on Sunday 10th November).

The Queen at Memorial Day ServiceOn this day, a service is held at The Cenotaph (a war memorial) in Whitehall, London, with the Royal family, religious leaders, politicians and representatives of the Armed Forces. The Queen places a wreath on The Cenotaph and there are other tributes to remember everyone who has died in wars for their country.  On this day, there is also a 2 minute silence at 11am.

The service is being shown on BBC1 from 10.20am on Sunday 10th November so if you are available, I would recommend watching this emotional event and you can also take part in the 2 minute silence to remember the millions of people who have died in wars from the UK and from your own countries.

Why do we wear poppies for Remembrance Day?

If you are in the UK at the moment, you have probably noticed people in the street and on TV wearing a poppy on their clothes.

Poppies are red flowers which usually only grow on land which has been disturbed. Poppy seeds can lie in the ground for years but will only blossom when the land is torn apart. During World War I, there were many battles in Northern France and Flanders (western Belgium) and most of the buildings, roads and even trees disappeared. However, every year when the weather started to get warm, poppies grew in the fields where battles were taking place and they brought colour and hope to the soldiers who were still fighting.

Poppies in a fieldPoppies have become a symbol of our remembrance of those who lost their lives in wars and people wear them to show that they are remembering. A charity called the ‘Poppy Appeal’ was set up by the Royal British Legion to raise money for people whose lives have been affected by war. You will see volunteers in streets, stations and shopping centres selling poppies for this charity. If you want to show your support, you can buy a poppy and wear it on your clothes. There is no set amount of money you need to give to buy a poppy but many people give £1.

If you want to find out more information about Remembrance Day and poppies, you can ask one of the poppy sellers on the street (this is also a great way to practise your English speaking skills) or you can speak to a teacher in your English school.

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