Today, it is Remembrance Day, also known as Armistice Day. This is the day when everyone gives a Two Minute Silence at 11am, in thanks and remembrance, to all those who gave their lives in World War I, that stopped at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.
Also this year was the centenary of the start of WWI, when the war broke out, a hundred years ago, in 1914. I find it kind of strange that we are marking the centenary of the start, rather than the end (that is in four years – 2018!). That is probably why Remembrance Sunday was more poignant three days ago. I watched it. I had my Two Minutes Silence at 11am, and I shed a tear and two.
A couple of weeks ago, I bought myself one of those new, and unique, little pin poppies that have the year dates on them. Every year, I wear a poppy. (I remember one year I got really upset, because I kept losing my poppies. I think I went through about three that November) A couple of years ago, I knitted some. It’s important to remember the people who gave their lives for the country, and tried to fix the world. My grandfather fought in WWI, and he took seven bullets in his side. He survive, although one couldn’t be taken out, because it was too close to something that would paralyzed him.
Growing up, it was really drilled into me how important it is to mark this remembrance. We always did the Two Minutes Silence at school, and we all wore poppies. We studied the two World Wars, which to be really honest, were super boring. Horrible Histories has done a fantastic job of explaining it really clearly, and they even finally clarified for me what really caused the war.* (Think how you’d react if someone hurt your best friend. Apparently, the war was started on the same principle.) Mr Selfridge¹ has also help this year, as the second series set around the time of the breakout. It was interesting, because I realized that at the time no-one had any clue what was going on, or what was really dawning on the world. They took it all really lightly at first. Apparently, it was the Massacre of Belgium that prompted all the boys and men to sign up. That was surprising bit of new history, because despite all my learning about WWI at school, I never knew about that!
What is sad this year though that people are forgetting the importance of poppies, and the reason why we remember, despite the marking of such a huge anniversary. I’ve heard in the news that people are being beaten up, for handing out poppies, or even wearing one. Why? (That is the one question I always ask when I read the paper, yet it is never answered.) Why? We’ve always worn them, so why now are respectful people being beaten up?
Yesterday morning, in the Metro, I read that One Direction fans thought that the singers were wearing corsages, and had no idea what a poppy was! 😮
It begs the question, do parents, and schools, not educate the children about history, the war, and all those lives lost during those long forgotten days? Probably not. Come to think of it, they could have been American, because they don’t have Remembrance Day on the 11 November, but Veterans Day. That said, they did fight in WWI, but not until the last year.² Apparently, I read a tweet saying that it’s because they cannot deal with peace, but only with war. Charmed.
Still, I wear a poppy. And if I ever meet a child who asks what it is, I will tell them the story of why we wear them, and what happened in WWI. I will even tell them the story of the Christmas Truce of 1914 in Saint-Yves in Belgium. All sides stopped fighting on Christmas Eve, and got together to celebrate Christmas. There is even a movie about it: Joyeux Noël.³
So, lest we forget all these amazing soldiers, and be thankful to all those who still fight for us everyday today. I will finish this post with the famous In Flanders Field poem by John McCrae, and my favourite Remembrance Day song by Bryan Adams.
* Sadly, I could not find a video of the sketch on YouTube. Sad face.