Set aside as a time to honor those who served and lost their lives fighting in wars and national conflict, Remembrance Day also allows people to remember the devastation that comes out of war, encouraging them to try to live at peace with one another.
History of Remembrance Day
Remembrance Day has a history that can be followed back to what was originally Armistice Day. A key part of the celebration is the fact that the formal end of World War I was scheduled to take place at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of the year in 1918.
So, the following year, this date was celebrated in honor of those who fought in the war, especially those who lost their lives, and reminding everyone about the brutality and hostility of war. The original Armistice Day was celebrated in November 1919, with events hosted by King George V and held at Buckingham Palace.
During World War II, the day changed its name. Armistice Day in the UK and other Commonwealth nations became Remembrance Day, while the United States changed the name to Veteran’s Day. Since then, other conflicts and wars have arisen in various nations, and Remembrance Day may be used to remember and honor all of the soldiers and veterans, whether recently or a century ago.
In some countries, Remembrance Day is a public government holiday, where schools and many offices are closed, while other countries simply encourage people to pay their respects in their free time on Remembrance Day.
Take some time on this Remembrance Day to show some appreciation for those soldiers, sailors, airmen, officers and others who were committed to fighting for freedom.
How to Observe Remembrance Day
A wide range of opportunities are available for people to celebrate Remembrance Day on a very small scale or on a larger scale. Join in with millions of others to show respect for those who lost their lives or fought in a war, and also take some time to think on and remember how important it is to strive for peace in the world today. Consider some of these ideas for observing Remembrance Day:
Wear a Red Poppy
In the United Kingdom, the symbol that shows support for the armed forces is a red poppy flower. This originated from a poem written after World War I that described the poppies marking the graves of soldiers who were killed fighting for their country. The poem, named “In Flanders Fields” was written by a Canadian doctor after he had lost a friend in the war. In 1921, the emblem of the red poppy was chosen by the British Legion to honor those who had died and also encourage those still living.
All throughout the month of November, the red poppy is worn as a symbol of hope for the future and remembrance of the past. They are sold as fundraisers for charitable efforts that help veterans with housing, jobs or other assistance. Some of these poppies are sold along with the theme “Lest We Forget”. People who choose to get poppies can place them on their coat lapels or wear them in other places in support of Remembrance Day.
Take a Moment of Silence
At 11am on this day, many people stop what they are doing, at work, at school or in public spaces, to hold a moment of silence. This moment is meant to be a solemn remembrance of those who lost their lives as part of serving and defending their country. Some Remembrance Day events hold two minutes of silence and then will have a ceremony or other way for people to gather, listen, speak and remember.
Honor or Thank a Veteran
Those who have friends, family members, coworkers or other loved ones who are veterans may want to take some time on Remembrance Day to thank them for their service in protecting their country. And those who have special veterans who have already died may want to pay respect and honor them by sharing a photo of them on social media as a tribute to their memory.
Attend a Remembrance Day Event
Many cities, states and governments across the world host events related to Remembrance Day or Veteran’s Day. Find out what events or ceremonies are taking place in the local area, whether a memorial service, parade, dinner or some other way to mark the occasion. Community leaders who don’t already have events planned in their local area might be interested in starting one through their town, school, local chapter of a veteran’s support group, or some other foundation.
Learn About the History of Remembrance Day
One important way to observe a day that acts as a reminder of the horrors of war might be to learn more about its history. The catalyst of Remembrance Day was World War I, which took place more than 100 years ago now, and many modern people are not well educated on the details of this war. The internet has all kinds of different resources for people to grow in their knowledge of the world wars, and a local library would also be a great place to check out some history books for more information.
Support a Veterans’ Charity
Those who leave their homes and families to serve in the military often have to make very large sacrifices. And many times, when they come home after serving in a war or conflict, they have difficulty getting their lives back on track. From financial and personal hardship with finding a job or emotional distress from post-traumatic stress, many veterans need extra support.
In honor of Remembrance Day, some people might think it’s a good idea to make a donation to financially support a veterans charity. Or it might be a time to find out if there are ways to volunteer to help. This could include something like transporting veterans to medical appointments, leading recreational programs, serving coffee and refreshments at events, or simply providing companionship to those in need.