Remembrance Day 11th November

Remembrance Day, Poppy Day, Armistice Day or Veterans Day

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Remembrance Day 11th NovemberPoppy day 11th november

Remembrance Day [Australia, Canada, United Kingdom], also known as Poppy Day [Malta and South Africa], Veterans Day [USA, and Armistice Day [France, New Zealand, and many other British Commonwealth countries]; is a day to commemorate the sacrifice of veterans and civilians in World War 1, World War 2, and all other wars.

It is observed on 11th November to recall the end of World War I on that date in 1918. [At 11am a two minute silence is observed at war memorials, cenotaphs, religious services and shopping centres throughout Britain; the Great War ended at the11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month].  The observance is specifically dedicated to members of the armed forces who were killed during war.

Poppy Appeal Mascot in London

Poppy Appeal mascot in London

War widow Tina Thompson and her son in front of the Poppy Appeal mascot in London. The appeal commemorates Remembrance Day and raises funds to help current and ex-military personnel and their families.

Remembrance Sunday 2012 Poppy day 11th november

The Royal British Legion's annual poppy appeal has been launched, with the aim of raising £42m to help service personnel and their families in need.

Some 45 million poppies, made at a factory in Richmond, Surrey, will be distributed nationwide and go on sale on Saturday 27th October.

The fundraising was launched with a concert at Trafalgar Square, featuring military bands and pop singers. Poppy Scotland, a sister charity, also launched its annual poppy appeal.

The British Legion said a poppy can be worn at any time, but they are usually available two weeks before Remembrance Sunday.  The legion's head of fundraising events, Theresa Greener, told us that people wore poppies for different reasons.

'The poppy has never been about a political statement. It is a symbol of remembrance. It's broadly worn across the whole community regardless of age, regardless of background or culture.'

Poppy Appeal mascot in London

A Personal Note About the Difficulty of Giving to Charity

Whinging about how difficult it is to give to charity is never going to sound good.  Nevertheless, I must speak up about my experience of trying to give to one of the world's biggest charities.  The problem was I could not do it anonymously. I grappled with forms on their website; I tried their phone number, no human there; surely the phone line could have been staffed by volunteers? Poppy Day Cross 11th november

What am I afraid of?  Giving them my address so they can bombard me with letters pleading to give them more when I have just made a donation.

Then my wife and I had a letter from the British Legion; in it there were little crosses, we only too happy to send them back with the names of our uncles who had died in WW2 and WW1.  No personal details were required just a cheque, to which I added the amount I would have given to that other charity.

Poppy ManPoppy Appeal mascot in London

Poppy Man, the symbolic representation of the help The Royal British Legion gives to currently serving and ex-Service people and their families.

Every year volunteers throughout the length and breadth of the UK collect donations for those who have fought for the country and are in need.

Nelson's flagship HMS Victory once saw fierce battles in which brave sailors were killed. So it was right and proper that the 'Poppy Man', a symbol of remembrance to those who have fallen in battle, paid a visit to the historic ship at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, England. Chief Petty Officer Warren Oates welcomed him on board Victory as part of the Royal British Legion campaign to raise £32m [$50.5m USD] nationally, £2m more than last year.  See more on Nelson

They shall not grow old as we who 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 WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Another Poppy Man - Heathrow London

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A huge towering 5 metre high tribute to the Royal British Legion's annual Poppy Appeal stands in London Heathrow Airport. It comprises of over 8,000 poppies.

 Poppy Man in London

See more about Remembrance Day and the Poppy Day Appeal at the British Legion

A Lovely Poppy Day Poem - Kindly Sent in By Dave Foley

The Poppy

Why are they selling poppies Mummy
selling poppies in the town today?
The poppies my child are flowers of love
for the men who marched away.
But why have they chosen a poppy Mummy
oh why not a beautiful rose?
Because my child men fought and died
in the fields where the poppies grow.
But why are the poppies so red Mummy
oh why are the poppies so red?
Because red is the colour of blood my child
blood that the soldiers shed.
The heart of the poppy is black Mummy
oh why does it have to be black?
Because black my child is the symbol of grief
for so many that never came back.
But why Mummy are you crying so
your tears are causing you pain?
My tears are my fear for you my child
for the world is forgetting again !

The Last Post - "Taps"Last Post Taps

The Last Post is played at military funerals and at the end of a Remembrance Day service. This haunting melody to recognise the fallen is also, played in the USA and Canada where it is refered to as "Taps".

It was probably Brigader General Daniel Butterfield, who was instrumental in commissioning "Taps" circa 1862.  Reports that Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was responsible seem to be an urban myth.

When "Taps" is played at a funeral, it is customary to salute if you are in uniform, or else place your hand over your heart if in mufti. However, these words, which may accompany "Taps", were originally called Butterfield's Lullaby and were probably sung at the soldiers' lights out.

Day is done.
Gone the sun.
From the lakes
From the hills.
From the sky.
All is well.
Safely rest.
God is nigh.

Fading light.
Dims the sight.
And a star.
Gems the sky.
Gleaming bright.
From afar.
Drawing nigh.
Falls the night.

Thanks and praise.
For our days.
Neath the sun
Neath the stars.
Neath the sky
As we go.
This we know
God is nigh.

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The British SoldierThe British Soldier

The average British soldier is 19 years old.....he is a short haired, well built lad who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears and just old enough to buy a round of drinks but old enough to die for his country - and for you. He's not particularly keen on hard work but he'd rather be grafting in Afghanistan than unemployed in the UK . He recently left comprehensive school where he was probably an average student, played some form of sport, drove a ten year old rust bucket, and knew a girl that either broke up with him when he left, or swore to be waiting when he returns home. He moves easily to rock and roll or hip-hop or to the rattle of a 7.62mm machine gun.

He is about a stone lighter than when he left home because he is working or fighting from dawn to dusk and well beyond. He has trouble spelling, so letter writing is a pain for him, but he can strip a rifle in 25 seconds and reassemble it in the dark. He can recite every detail of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either effectively if he has to. He digs trenches and latrines without the aid of machines and can apply first aid like a professional paramedic. He can march until he is told to stop, or stay dead still until he is told to move.

He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation but he is not without a rebellious spirit or a sense of personal dignity. He is confidently self-sufficient. He has two sets of uniform with him: he washes one and wears the other. He keeps his water bottle full and his feet dry. He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never forgets to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes and fix his own hurts. If you are thirsty, he'll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food is your food. He'll even share his life-saving ammunition with you in the heat of a fire-fight if you run low.

He has learned to use his hands like weapons and regards his weapon as an extension of his own hands. He can save your life or he can take it, because that is his job - it's what a soldier does. He often works twice as long and hard as a civilian, draw half the pay and have nowhere to spend it, and can still find black ironic humour in it all. There's an old saying in the British Army: 'If you can't take a joke, you shouldn't have joined!' Soldier's funeral

He has seen more suffering and death than he should have in his short lifetime. He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and he is unashamed to show it or admit it. He feels every bugle note of the 'Last Post' or 'Sunset' vibrate through his body while standing rigidly to attention. He's not afraid to 'Bollock' anyone who shows disrespect when the Regimental Colours are on display or the National Anthem is played; yet in an odd twist, he would defend anyone's right to be an individual. Just as with generations of young people before him, he is paying the price for our freedom. Clean shaven and baby faced he may be, but be prepared to defend yourself if you treat him like a kid.

He is the latest in a long thin line of British Fighting Men that have kept this country free for hundreds of years. He asks for nothing from us except our respect, friendship and understanding. We may not like what he does, but sometimes he doesn't like it either - he just has it to do.. Remember him always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood.

And now we even have brave young women putting themselves in harm's way, doing their part in this tradition of going to war when our nation's politicians call on us to do so.  Let us remember them, especially today the 11th day of the 11 month.

 The British Solider - Poppy Appeal

Just a Common Soldier

Will and Guy would like to offer this poem by A.L Vaincourt as a tribute to this important day.

(A Soldier Died Today)
by A. Lawrence Vaincourt

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He was getting old and paunchy
And his hair was falling fast
And he sat around the legion
Telling stories of the past

Of a war that he once fought in
And the deeds that he had done
In his exploits with his buddies
They were heroes every one

And though sometimes to his neighbours
His tales became a joke
All his buddies listened quietly
For they knew whereof he spoke

But we will hear his tales no longer
For old Bob has passed away
And the world's a little poorer
For a Soldier died today

He wont be mourned by many
Just his children and his wife
For he lived an ordinary
Very quiet sort of life

He held a job and raised a family
Going quietly on his way
And the world won't note his passing
Tho' a soldier died todayRemembrance Day, Poppy Day, Armistice Day or Veterans Day

When politicians leave this earth
Their bodies lie in state
While thousands note their passing
And proclaim that they were great

Papers tell of their life stories
From the time they were young
But the passing of a soldier
Goes unnoticed and unsung

Is the greatest contribution
To the welfare of our land
Some jerk who breaks his promise
And cons his fellow man

Or the ordinary fellow
Who in times of war and strife
Goes off to serve his country
And offer up his life

The politicians stipend
And the style in which he lives
Are often disproportionate
To the service that he gives

While the ordinary soldier
Who offered up his all
Is paid off with a medal
And perhaps a pension, small

Its so easy to forget them
For it is so many times
That our Bobs and Jims
Went to battle but we still pine

It was not the politicians
With their compromise and ploys
Who won for us the freedom
That our Country now enjoys

Should you find yourself in danger
With your enemies at hand
Would you really want some cop out
With his ever waffling stand

Or would you want a Soldier
His home, his country, his kin
Just a common Soldier
Who would fight until the end

He was just a common solder
And his ranks are growing thin
But his presence should remind us
We may need his like again

For when countries are in conflict
We find the Soldiers part
Is to clean up all the troubles
That the politicians start

If we cannot do him honour
While he's here to hear the praise
Then at least lets give him homage
At the ending of his days

Perhaps just a simple headline
In the paper that might say
Our country is in mourning
A Soldier died today.

Remembrance Day is also Known as Veterans Day

Veterans Day Picture

Armed Forces Day in the UK

The first Armed Forces Day is now on 27 June 2009.  This is an opportunity for the nation to show our support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community

Armed Forces Day Honouring our Armed Forces and Veterans
Raising awareness of the past and continuing contributions of the Armed Forces

A Poignant Reminder of the Talents Stolen from Sport

Frank Keating, Tuesday November 13, 2007

The Guardian

The village war memorial stands at the bottom of our lane. I can't pin down the precise reason why this Sunday's Boys' Brigade buglers and the commemorative huddle of parishioners and their poppy wreaths had, more than usual, a poignant and depressing effect on me.

Perhaps it was the weather: austerely grey and, the trees suddenly leafless, somehow first hint of the bleak coffin-days of real winter? Or was it that this Sunday the solemn unities of 11/11/11 were so exact? Or, clocking my own 70 last month, is memento mori now an inescapably routine contemplation? Was it to do with my good son's youthful and serious ambition to be a general? Or because, this summer, I finally got round to reading the anguished, unputdownable novel Birdsong? Or have I simply had my fill of cursing in despair at every latest mention of the grievous pointlessness of the two ongoing wars the wretched Blair bequeathed us before he swanned off to make and count his millions?

Take your pick. Mind you, 2007's Poppy Day was always going to provide added pathos for any overkeen cricketing person because, almost to the day, it was 90 years since the death of the most fabled of all the sportsmen wiped out in those ghastly 1914-18 trenches. Every schoolboy - at my school anyway - was aware of him, just as we knew as well that the first pro footballer to die in that war's opening day was Johnny Wilson (Dumbarton FC and the Black Watch) at Mons in August 1914; and that May 1915 was rugby's blackest month when the game's most luminous internationals Ronnie Poulton-Palmer (Royal Berkshires) and Basil Maclear (Dublin Fusiliers) were killed in the Battle of Ypres.

Carnage. In all, with pitiable aptness 22 capped county cricketers - two full teams - died in those four summers. Thirty rugby internationals never came home to Scotland; 27 England players never saw Twickenham again; 24 French internationals died, 13 Welsh, and nine Irish. The ratio of footballers was probably worse but, typically, nobody thought to log their names precisely.

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That most illustrious of cricketers, of course, was Kent and England's Colin Blythe. He might even have been the last to die at the infamous Passchendaele (between July 31 and November 10 1917), a mass 'advance' which gained some three miles and lost 310,000 Allied combatants. Sgt Blythe of the Kent Fortress Engineers was killed instantly by a shrapnel blast on the night of November 8. He was 38.

Most accept him as all cricket's finest bowler of left-arm slows. Apprentice to Peel and Briggs and Rhodes, he was classic inspiration to the continuing English line of Verity, Wardle, Lock, Underwood, Giles and Panesar. Wisden 1918, harrowingly chockful of bleak, cursory obits, quotes Ranjitsinhji's opinion that Blyth was 'finer even than Rhodes, the deceptive flight making him far more difficult to hit'. Jessop said he was easily 'the best left arm of my time, or any time.' Between 1899 and 1914, Blyth took 2,503 first-class wickets at 16 apiece. For England in 19 Tests he took precisely 100 wickets at 18 (in Panesar's first 19 Tests he'd taken 71 at 31).

Pictures show Blyth as a slim, palefaced fellow with a shy smile. In fact Colin was known to all Kent as Charlie. The young Mancunian urchin Neville Cardus worshipped his arts from afar and presumed Blyth a patrician public schoolboy until, one day at Old Trafford, 'I followed him about and heard this gorgeous cockney, which was a shock because a boy's romanticism is always snobbish, and I learned that Kent found Blyth playing on a piece of waste ground in grimy Deptford; Kent is not all lanes and hop gardens, and Blyth came out of a slum and became the darling of Canterbury Week, with all its fashion and fine ladies.'

In 1914's summer Blyth took 170 wickets at 15, enlisting before Kent's final match. On his last leave he and his young wife Janet visited Eton College where he was offered the post, once war was over, as chief coach. At the front his job was skilled and dangerous, supervising night patrols laying temporary railway tracks between the trenches and ammunition stores. With the fighting around the ravaged village of Passchendaele all but over, a single German shell exploded above Blyth's working party. A metal splinter of jagged shrapnel pierced the cricketer's heart - on its way, passing through the leather wallet in his tunic's breast pocket and, with unbearably symbolic finality, cleanly erasing Janet's face in the snapshot portrait. You can still weep over the excruciating relic in Canterbury's pavilion museum.

The Final Inspection

The soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

'Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you ?
Have you always turned the other cheek ?
To My Church have you been true?'

The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
'No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand.

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

'Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell.'

Author Unknown

 

Remembrance Day 11th November.

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