Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day

Every year, we observe and celebrate Remembrance Day, but what else do you know about this important day?  Here are some beans for you to brew about November 11.

1. Remembrance Day was first celebrated in 1919 by King George V.  It is observed by Commonwealth nations—countries that were mostly territories of the former British Empire that are united by language, culture, and, of course, history—though non-Commonwealth countries also have their own observances and traditions.  Canada, Australia, and many other nations join England in remembering fallen soldiers of World War I and wars thereafter.

2. The number of significance is 11.  At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we hold a moment of silence, and we remember the men and women who have died in the line of duty.  This date and time is significant because it was when hostilities between the Triple Entente and the Triple Alliance formally stopped.  November 11 used to be called Armistice Day to mark the agreement between the Allies and Germany to end WWI.

3. World War One officially ended on 28 June 1919 when the Treaty of Versailles was signed in France.

4. The poppy became associated with Remembrance Day thanks to “In Flanders Fields“, a poem by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae.  He wrote it on 3 May 1915 after the funeral of his friend and fellow soldier.  The poem was first published in December of the same year.  Red poppies grew in Flanders Fields, but because of their striking colour against the landscape, they also became symbolic of the blood of fallen soldiers.

5. Canadians have been wearing poppies since 1921.  Poppies should be worn on the left lapel, which is closest to the heart.  The pins they come with should not be replaced by safety pins or earrings, but a Canadian flag pin is welcome.  Ultimately, it is better to wear a poppy with a substitute pin than to not wear one at all.  You can wear however many poppies you want, but they should be taken off and placed at a grave or memorial site after November 11.  This was the original intent of the Royal Canadian Legion when they began their Poppy Campaign.

6. Donations in exchange for poppies help the Legion provide financial assistance to the Canadian Armed Forces (both active and former members and their families).  This assistance can be in the form of food, clothing, prescription medication, medical equipment, emergency shelter and assistance, housing and care facilities, and transportation.  The Poppy Campaign raises $14 000 000 each year from selling about 18 000 000 poppies.

[From the mixed-up files of: “Legion”, “In Flanders Fields”, “Six Rules of Poppy Protocol for Remembrance Day”, “Remembrance Day”, and “The Poppy, Symbol of Remembrance”.]