Each year, the nation unites to make sure that no-one is forgotten and to remember and honour those who have sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom.
The red poppy is a symbol of both Remembrance and hope for a peaceful future.
Poppies are worn as a show of support for the Armed Forces community. The poppy is a well-known and well-established symbol, one that carries a wealth of history and meaning with it. Wearing a poppy is still a very personal choice, reflecting individual experiences and personal memories. It is never compulsory but is greatly appreciated by those who it is intended to support.
What is the inspiration and historical significance behind the poppy becoming a symbol of Remembrance?
The Western Front
During WW1, much of the fighting took place in Western Europe. The countryside was blasted, bombed and fought over repeatedly. Previously beautiful landscapes turned to mud; bleak and barren scenes where little or nothing could grow.
Fields of Poppies
There was a notable and striking exception to the bleakness – the bright red Flanders poppies. These resilient flowers flourished in the middle of so much chaos and destruction, growing in the thousands upon thousands.
In the spring of 1915
Shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, a Canadian doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was moved by the sight of these poppies and that inspiration led him to write the now famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’.
The spread of the poppy as a symbol
The poem then inspired an American academic named Moina Michael to adopt the poppy in memory of those who had fallen in the war. She campaigned to get it adopted as an official symbol of Remembrance across the United States and worked with others who were trying to do the same in Canada, Australia, and the UK.
Also involved with those efforts was a French woman, Anna Guérin who was in the UK in 1921 where she planned to sell the poppies in London.
There she met Earl Haig, founder of the Royal British Legion, who was persuaded to adopt the poppy as an emblem for the Legion in the UK. The Legion, which had been formed in 1921, ordered nine million poppies and sold them on 11 November that year.
What are we remembering this year?
This year we remember then and reflect on now. We remember the service and sacrifice made by so many peoples, communities and nations 75 years ago, and we reflect on the service and sacrifice of so many today.
The end of WWII
The world so many knew had been turned upside down by the Second World War, and the end of the war did not mean the end of the service or sacrifice for so many – 3.8 million British men and 400,000 women were demobilised, returning to their homes and families, some for the first time in many years.
Many of the feelings, emotions, and challenges faced by the Second World War generation, while different in their causes and extent, they have echoes for many today; shortages of goods, feeling socially isolated, familial dislocation, a sense of the unknown, a feeling of being forgotten, and the collaboration of nations and communities to face a common foe. The entire nation relied on our service personnel and public servants then, so we do again today.
“We went around the school to collect £1 for the Poppy appeal”
“I am putting the money in the box so that I can get a poppy and I will wear it so I can remember the soldiers on the poppy field”
As a school we…
Had a whole school assembly to remind ourselves of the sacrifices that British men and woman made. Within our classes we looked at different elements of the war and the significance of the poppy. The younger children had a go at re creating the poppy field and sketching a poppy. Take a look at some of their illustrations.
“We made poppy fields using watercolours”
“We watched Miss B show us how to sketch a poppy flower. We then tried ourselves. We used our favourite water colours to paint the flower and then we made the background with the newspapers…the newspapers are like the buildings that fell down in the fighting”
“We were painting the poppy carefully”
The children listened to ‘The Poppy Story’ and as a class we discussed the importance of the story. The children used paints to capture the beautiful, bright poppies! The children also wrote about why we wear poppies this time of year.
In arts and crafts club, the children were shown how to create a sunset using watercolours. They followed 2 part instructions to create a sunset beautifully. They also painted a soldier who fought in the war.
Year 5 used watercolours to create paintings of poppies.
Year 3 used their knowledge of syllables to write Haiku poems for Remembrance Day. They enjoyed making poppies and presenting their work on posters.
Year 2 found out that the only flower that grew on the battlefields after The Great War were poppies. The children working together to make an amazing display of poppies on the battlefield with the silhouette of the soldier.