A poignant event in the public calendar, Remembrance Day is a time for the nation to remember and honour those who have sacrificed themselves to protect our security and freedom. The Two Minute Silence, which is held annually on 11th November to mark the end of the First World War, provides us with an opportunity reflect and pay our respects.
This year, Remembrance Sunday will fall on 13th November and is the day on which the National Service of Remembrance takes place. The ceremony will take place at The Cenotaph in Whitehall where tributes are paid by the Queen, Government officials and representatives of the armed forces.
Ensuring no-one is forgotten, the National Service of Remembrance is a tribute to not only the loss of over a million British Servicemen in the First and Second World Wars, but also to the 12,000 British Servicemen and women who have been killed or injured since 1945.
Armistice Day is commemorated on the 11th November, the day the First World War came to an end in 1918. The armistice was signed on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the time we now hold the Two Minute Silence, marking a pivotal moment in British history. Widely respected across the UK, the Two Minute Silence is also marked by a ceremony in Trafalgar Square hosted by the Royal British Legion.
The significance of the poppy
An iconic symbol of Remembrance across the nation, the poppy was adopted as the emblem of Remembrance after Lt Col John McCrae composed the now famous poem, ‘In Flanders Fields’. McCrae was inspired by the sea of poppies growing on the battle scared fields and subsequently the poppy was used to allow people to show their respect for those who paid the price for our freedom. You can pay your own respects by buying a poppy and donating to the Poppy Appeal.
Why we remember
As well as honouring those who have fought to protect our freedom, it’s also important to pass on the history of wars that have shaped our attitudes towards present conflicts. Remembrance Day highlights to students how remembering a pivotal historical event has become a part of national life, as well as demonstrating how events which occurred a century ago can still move people today.
If you’d like to teach your students about Remembrance by visiting the battlefields at Ypres or the Somme, you can get in touch with one of the WST team to find out how we can create a bespoke trip to suit the needs of your students.