Sunday, 11 November 2012

Remember me

This year Remembrance Day (the 11th of November) actually falls on Remembrance Sunday. In the UK we use this day to remember all those who died in wars past. This day was chosen as it is the anniversary of the end of hostilities in the First World War at 11 a.m. in 1918. All over the UK at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month we stand for a two minute silence. Everywhere you go at 11:00, everything comes to a stand still as we remember those who have fallen.

I have many to remember as my dearest friend is currently in the US military and growing up I was very close to a man who had been at Pearl Harbor when it was bombed.

In the UK, everyone wears a red poppy to show your support. They are made by disabled veterans--I've even been on a field trip to the poppy making factory.

According to Wikipedia:

The red remembrance poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem "In Flanders Fields". These poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their brilliant red colour an appropriate symbol for the blood spilled in the war.

Quakers often wear the white poppy also called the Peace Poppy. This is to help us work for a more peaceful future where war may not happen.

According to Peace Pledge Union:
The idea of decoupling Armistice Day, the red poppy and later Remembrance Day from their military culture dates back to 1926, just a few years after the British Legion was persuaded to try using the red poppy as a fundraising tool in Britain.
A member of the No More War Movement suggested that the British Legion should be asked to imprint 'No More War' in the centre of the red poppies instead of ‘Haig Fund’ and failing this pacifists should make their own flowers.
The details of any discussion with the British Legion are unknown but as the centre of the red poppy displayed the ‘Haig Fund’ imprint until 1994 it was clearly not successful. A few years later the idea was again discussed by the Co-operative Women's Guild. In 1933 the first white poppies appeared on Armistice Day (called Remembrance Day after World War Two). The white poppy was not intended as an insult to those who died in the First World War - a war in which many of the white poppy supporters lost husbands, brothers, sons and lovers - but a challenge to the continuing drive to war. The following year the newly founded Peace Pledge Union began widespread distribution of the poppies and their annual promotion.

The purple poppy is there to remember all of the animals who lost their lives in wars.

According to Animal Aid:

Throughout the history of human conflicts, animals have been victims of war.

During World War I, dogs and pigeons were used to deliver messages between frontline trenches and further afield. Horses, donkeys and even elephants have been routinely used as beasts of burden, while a shocking array of animals – from bears to deer – have been kept as pets in the midst of battle.

Today, animals continue to be used in the battlefield to detect explosives, and thousands suffer and die each year in laboratories, infected with biological or chemical agents, or deliberately shot or otherwise damaged.

To commemorate all the animal victims, Animal Aid has issued a purple poppy, which can be worn alongside the traditional red one, as a reminder that both humans and animals have been – and continue to be – victims of war.

On behalf of Quaker Concern For Animals our Meeting House is laying a wreath with purple poppies at the war memorial in town.

I tend to wear the red twined with the white but next year I plan to also get a purple and wear them all. We must look backwards and  remember them all and then look forwards and see that it never happens again.

1 comment:

  1. It is Veteran's Day here in the states, as you know. Today is also mine and Becky's 17th wedding anniversary!