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BikeWise 2018

BikeWise 2018

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A time to reflect as we approach Remembrance Sunday

Flanders FieldRemembrance Day is also known as Poppy Day.

It was first observed in 1919, however until 1945 it was called Armistice Day. Traditionally there is two minutes of silence at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month because that was the time (in Britain) when the armistice became effective in 1918.
Today, in the UK Remembrance Sunday is also observed on the Sunday nearest to November 11th. So, in the United Kingdom, two minutes' silence is observed on November 11 itself, and on the second Sunday of November. Remembrance Sunday, ceremonies are held at War Memorials, all over the UK and over the years it has become a day to commemorate not just the sacrifice of servicemen and women but the suffering of civilians in times of war.

Remembrance Sunday is commemorated by church services around the UK and a parade of ex-service personnel in London’s Whitehall. Wreaths of poppies are placed on war memorials from the Cenotaph, a war memorial in Whitehall, to the tiniest war memorials in villages all over Britain. Small wooden crosses are placed in Gardens of Remembrance as private acts of remembering individual losses and suffering and people pin poppies to their coat or jacket.

History states that it was the poem 'In Flanders Fields' written in 1915 by Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian Medical Officer, that captured the imagination of the British people in the dark days of trench warfare on the Western Front when so many young soldiers failed to return. Six months before the Armistice, McCrae was brought on a stretcher to a big hospital on the French coast and saw the cliffs of Dover from his room. He died that night and was buried in a cemetery above Wimereux. Before he died, he said to the doctor: "Tell them this . . . If ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep." An American woman, Miss Moina Michael, wrote a moving poem in reply and bought 25 red poppies, wearing one herself as a way to keep faith with the war dead; a French woman, Madame Guerin, came up with the practical idea of making and selling artificial poppies to help ex-service men and their dependents in need.

Britain's first Poppy Day was held in 1921 and the money raised helped children in war-devastated areas. The Royal British Legion opened its own poppy factory in London in 1922 to give practical help in time of need to all who have served in the armed forces and their widows and dependents. The paper poppies that are worn today are made by ex-service personnel and are sold by representatives of the Royal British Legion, an organisation of ex-servicemen and women. Today, they make more than 35 million poppies and 65,000 wreaths for the annual poppy appeal. Poppies grew in great abundance in the shell-torn fields of Flanders during the War. Because of its abundance it became the symbol of remembrance of two world wars.