Last Updated on 8.11.23 by Tom Atkinson
As we see an influx of poppies on lapels and hear the bugle call of the Last Post at various sporting events, we are reminded that Remembrance Day will soon be upon us. This Sunday, we take a few moments in our busy lives to honour and remember the service and sacrifice of all those that have defended our freedoms and protected our way of life.
Why this date?
The significance of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month is that it was on this date and at this time in 1918 that an agreement was reached to end the fighting of the First World War. This hallowed moment in history is also known as the Armistice, which is Latin for ‘to stand (still) arms’.
Just four days before the first anniversary of the Armistice, King George V endorsed an Australian journalist’s idea to hold a respectful silence to remember those who had given their lives in the Great War. The tradition has continued ever since.
It was only after the Second World War that the British government decided to replace Armistice Day with Remembrance Sunday as they sought to honour those who served in both World Wars. In 1956, the date was fixed as the second Sunday of the month of November each year.
Events that are taking place in the UK?
On Sunday in London there will be the usual National Service of Remembrance held at the Cenotaph in Whitehall. As is tradition, joining serving and ex-serving military personnel will be members of the Royal Family, members of cabinet, members of the opposition, the Mayor of London and many more will all pay tribute.
For us in Stockport, from 10:25am there will be a procession of service units, ex-servicemen’s, civilian and youth organisations from the Armoury to Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery. Then at 11am, the Mayor of Stockport, Councillor Graham Greenhalgh, will observe the two minutes silence on the steps of art gallery. To mark the beginning and end of the silence, maroon rockets will be launched from the civic complex.
In Manchester there will be a march from John Dalton Street to the Cenotaph in St Peter’s Square where a service of remembrance will take place after a two minute silence at 11am. To signal the start and end of the two minute silence a 105mm gun will be fired. This will be followed by a short march to Peter Street.
Why the Poppy?
The history of the poppy can be traced back to an American, Moina Belle Michael aka “The Poppy Lady”. She was inspired by the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ which references the thousands of bright red poppies that were the first flowers to grow in the churned up earth of the battlefields and on soldier’s graves. She wrote her own poem in response (‘We shall keep the faith’) and successfully campaigned to have the poppy adopted as a national remembrance symbol in the US. The idea spread first to France and then to the UK as it was adopted by the Royal British Legion in 1921. Today the Poppy is seen as a symbol of Remembrance and hope for a peaceful future. Wearing a poppy indicates respect, pride and compassion for our Armed Forces.
How to acquire your poppy (and how to wear it)?
This year the Royal British Legion (‘RBL’) have gone green with the introduction of their plastic free poppy! The new poppy has been made entirely from renewably sourced paper and is 100% recyclable. You can order your poppy from their website or if you’re ‘out and about’ it should not take long before you come across a poppy seller in your local town or supermarket.
Poppy selling represents the Royal British Legion’s biggest fundraising event of the year. All of the money raised by the Poppy Appeal goes towards supporting the Armed Forces community in lots of different ways such as financial support, advice, employment, mobility, housing and mental health.
So be sure to wear yours! But… how should it be worn? Traditionally, it should be worn on the left side, over the heart. Some also say it should be worn with the leaf pointing at 11 o’clock but the consensus, we believe, is what is more important is that it is worn with pride!
Here at Gorvins, as is tradition, our Military Personal Injury Department has secured from the RBL poppies in various forms which can be purchased form our reception or from members of the department on their periodic tours of our offices, with the rattle tins.