Remembrance day, which was originally called “Armistice Day”, is a day designated to commemorate the armistice agreement (truce) that ended the First World War on Monday, November 11, 1918, at 11 a.m. Every year, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we honour all of those who have fallen and observe a minute of silence to mark their sacrifice.
We wear a poppy to commemorate the veterans who gave up their lives for their country. Unfortunately, all of these soldiers lost the possibility to continue their lives and their stories were cut short. The poppy is a visual pledge and reminder to never forget all of those who lost their lives for freedom.
According to The Royal Canadian Legion …
The significance of the Poppy can be traced back to the Napoleonic Wars in the 19th century, over 110 years before being adopted in Canada. Records from that time indicate how thick Poppies grew over the graves of soldiers in the area of Flanders, France. Fields that had been barren before battle exploded with the blood-red flowers after the fighting ended. During the tremendous bombardments of the war, the chalk soils became rich in lime from rubble, allowing the “popaver rhoeas” to thrive. When the war ended, the lime was quickly absorbed and the Poppy began to disappear again. The person who first introduced the Poppy to Canada and the Commonwealth was Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae of Guelph, Ontario, a Canadian Medical Officer during the First World War.
Every year at work/school, our grade 6 students share a speech to explain Remembrance day. They voice the importance of always remembering this sacrifice. Reading the poem “In Flanders Field” written in 1915 by John McCrae, a doctor who served with the Canadian Artillery, is a tradition in my school that actually goes back to when I was a student!
In Flanders fields by John McCrae
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.
Lest we forget,