Hi again 🙂
As many of you are aware, it was recently ‘Remembrance Day’. After speaking with some of my friends I was really surprised to find that some of them weren’t aware of what this day is… or that they’ve never dedicated some time out of their day for it. This may be because they’re not from the UK. Therefore, I think it would be nice to share the significance of this day with you all and I hope it means more to you in the future.
Remembrance Day is a day when we take time out to remember the soldiers who fought in war… not just World War I or World War II… but any war. Anybody who served in the military and armed forces should be remembered.
I’m proud to say my great granddad served in the Burma War in the Australian Army and my great uncle was also in the UK’s Parachute Regiment. I’d love to share some of my uncle’s photos with you (above) – seems like he was a bit cheeky… hehe!
My 2nd cousin was also in the army as a helicopter pilot and has recently written a book about his experience. Please take a look at it here 🙂
Remember all soldiers from all countries… not just the UK… and don’t forget the dogs and horses too!
It has recently been on BBC News that many Pakistani soldiers have been sadly forgotten, yet they helped fight for the freedoms we enjoy today. “A study by think tank British Future found just 22% of people in Britain knew Muslims had fought in the Great War” …”400,000 Muslims fought in the British Indian Army!”(BBC, 2019).
Not only that, but over the years, nations from all over the world have joined forces to fight for what they believe in. For example, if you watch the film Pearl Harbour – Rafe goes to join the British Air Corps as a fighter pilot because the British were short on pilots and the Americans were our allies in World War II, just like many other countries were too. Although I don’t agree that fighting is the correct way to resolve anything, it is sometimes necessary to make these sacrifices for others and the future of our countries.
Remembrance Day, also known as Armistice Day or Poppy Day, is held every year on 11 November.
On this day it is usually tradition to attend the memorial service at your local cenotaph. People all over the country do a 2 minutes silence at 11am to take time out of their lives to remember and appreciate the sacrifices made by previous soldiers. It is done at this time because at 11am “on 11/11/1918 the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than 4 years of continuous warfare of the First World War” (VisitLondon, 2019). As far as I’m aware, there is a cenotaph in every town you go to in the UK. The local RAF, Army and Sea Cadet Squadrons will attend this event as well as the local council (I used to be in the RAF Cadet Squadron in my town 🙂 ).
It is also tradition to lay a poppy, poppy wreath or place a poppy cross on the ground at the cenotaph. Everybody tends to wear a poppy in the UK because it is a symbol of remembrance and hope for a peaceful future.
The reason why the poppy became a symbol for this: During the chaotic wars where masses of destruction took place, poppy fields still managed to thrive with vibrant poppies. Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was touched by the sight of this and decided to write the well-known poem ‘In Flanders Fields’.
In London, a memorial takes place at the cenotaph in Whitehall. The Queen attends this memorial as well as politicians and military representatives.
The Great British Legion support serving and ex-serving personnel all year round, every day of the week. Their support starts after seven days of service and continues through life, long after service is over.
- donate to the poppy appeal on their website
- volunteer to support the armed forces community
- be a poppy appeal collector
- run a marathon to help raise money for the armed forces community
There are many memorials and museums you can visit to learn about the wide range of wars, such as:
- Tamworth Memorial (local to Birmingham)
- Imperial War Museum, London (here you can see wall art to remember the fall of the Berlin Wall which marked the end of the Cold War and learn all about The Blitz – A good book to read is Blitz: The Diary of Eadie Benson, London, 1940-1941), Belfast, Duxford, Manchester
- Churchill War Rooms, London
- Anne Frank Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
- RAF Cosford and Airshow (I love this and helped out there while I was in Cadets)
- Fairford Museum and Airshow (this is better than Cosford!)
- Salcombe Maritime Museum (would also be a beautiful place for a breakaway in Spring/Summer )
My favourite war films
- Pearl Harbour – has a romantic storyline as well
- Good Morning Vietnam – I find Robin Williams in this hilarious and absolutely love it!
- Zero Dark Thirty – More related to capturing Osama Bin Laden rather than world wars but still really interesting and a great film!
- The imitation game – Alan Turing, a British mathematician, joins the cryptography team to decipher the German enigma code!
- Dunkirk – great film! starring Cillian Murphy, Harry Styles and Tom Hardy
- Top Gun – classic fighter pilot film 😉
- American Sniper – Based on the autobiography of the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history
- Forrest Gump – always loved this film as I was growing up!
- Black Hawk Down – I cried about 4 times throughout this film! Based on an actual event in Somalia, East Africa.
- The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – had to do my GCSE on this film and had to try not to cry!
I’ve also heard that Saving Private Ryan and The Great Escape are good films but I’ve not watched them myself.
Thanks for reading!