Remembrance Day (also known as Poppy Day or Armistice Day) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth countries since the end of World War I to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. World War I hostilities officially ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice. We remember the fallen by observing a symbolic moment of silence. Not only soldiers but also civilians are honoured in this way. The 1st minute of the silence period is in thanksgiving for those who have survived, while the second minute is to remember the fallen.
Having watched the series “World at War” and movies like The Dambusters, Schindlers List, Pearl Harbour when we were young have left terrible images and sounds in the back of my mind. Attending Remembrance Day Celebration for the first time, suddenly made these movies a reality. Seeing the Men and Women in uniform, who were representing all the countries and divisions involved carrying their wreaths, to lay them down at the foot of the memorial was to me a very honourable moment indeed. When hearing the “Last Post” one cannot but feel sad as you think of all the lost souls who suffered such horrific deaths. To think of all the young brothers and fathers who had to face enemy guns. To imagine what it must have possibly been like to hear air raid sirens going and bombs dropping. To sit beside your fellow soldier as he lay bleeding to death in muddy trenches. The smell of burning, decay, destruction that was all around must have been unbearable. To constantly be on the lookout for snipers and booby traps. The fear of being caught by the enemy to face torture would have been on their minds constantly. To carry on fighting when your body had no fight left in it. For four years the world lived in darkness, fear, starvation, sickness and death. World War I and World War II must not be forgotten, so that we can be sure that something so destructive and pointless and cruel never ever happens again.
“For the Fallen” by Laurence Binyon
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn,
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We remember them