The Royal British Legion has been supporting Service men and women, ex-serving personnel and their families since 1921 and brought together four national organisations that had established themselves after the First World War. These were:
- The National Association of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers
- The British National Federation of Discharged and Demobilized Sailors and Soldiers
- The Comrades of The Great War
- The Officers' Association
The Two Minute Silence was started in the same year and also the launch of the Poppy Appeal.
The red poppy symbolises both Remembrance and also hope for a peaceful future. People wear poppies to show support of the Armed Forces community.
Wearing a poppy is not compulsory and is a very personal choice and reflects your own experience and personal memories.
What is the inspiration and history behind the poppy becoming a symbol of Remembrance?
During the WW1, the countryside in Western Europe was bombed considerably and stunning landscapes were turned into bleak, muddy and barren fields where very little flora or fauna could grow.
However there was an exception to this, the bright red Flanders poppies. The poppies were so resilient they flourished and grew in vast amounts.
In the Spring of 1915, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was so moved by seeing the poppies that he wrote the now famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’.
In Flanders Fields
The poem by John McCrae
In Flanders' fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders' fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high,
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders' Fields.