The Importance of Remembrance Day

Why do we still celebrate over 100 years on?

The idea to write this article came to me after I heard on the news about the acts of protest committed at the Cenotaph on November 11 by Extinction Rebellion activists. They protested at the monument by placing a banner saying: ‘honour their sacrifice, climate change means war’ and calling memorial services held on Remembrance Day ‘a little ritual’. Their actions were condemned by many, with a spokesman of the Prime Minister commenting that this action was ‘profoundly disrespectful’. While climate change is a pressing issue, I would argue that Remembrance Day should be primarily a time to show our respect towards those who sacrificed themselves for the defence of the country, rather than a time for political protest.

Poppy Day is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth countries to commemorate all those who have fallen in the line of duty. It has been in place since 1918. The symbolic poppies have been used since 1920; the choice to use these flowers came from the fact that poppies were the only flowers to bloom at the barren battlefields of Flanders. The profits made by the poppies sold by the Royal British Poppy Appeal go towards helping veterans of the armed services, generating millions of pounds every year, which have aided many. The wearing of poppies, though, is not just a way to raise money for charity, alongside the 2-minute silence at 11 o’clock and other services held, but is also a way to pay respect to and honour those who sacrificed their lives in defence of their country’s ideals. We still benefit today from the freedoms they fought to protect, such as the freedom of speech. It is also a chance for the general public to commemorate family and friends lost fighting in wars and a way for many to reflect on the effects that war has on a nation. It is for all these reasons stated above that Remembrance Day is and should remain of great importance.

Rossella V