In commemoration of the bravery and heroism of the many men who fought and died, and to remember the horror and futility of the war, the 11th November was designated in 1919 as a day of observation and remembrance.
This tradition continues to this day, and the occasion has even grown over time. This growth is symbolic of the powers of England and the public recognising that the lessons learned from 1914-1918 are just as necessary today- as we reach the 90th anniversary of the signing of the armistice- as they were when the war ended. Perhaps this recognition is due to people seeing that the lessons aren't just consigned to the pages of history, as today we see stagnant wars and growing death tolls still occurring.
During my primary school days, our school greatly emphasised the importance of Remembrance Day. Each year we would produce projects, poems, plays all teaching us about the importance of this day, but more significantly we always practiced the 2 minutes of silence - taking the time out to remember those lying 'In Flanders Field'.
Perhaps the younger generation will never truly understand the emotional turmoil that people suffered during those tumultuous times, but it not to say that they will never appreciate nor understand the sacrifices made on our behalf. Over time, this day has become more than just remembrance of the Great war- but it now represents every soldier that fought in any war. The Iraq war, for example, which has greatly influenced today's younger generation more personally, especially due to the events of 9/11 and 7/7.
Remembrance Days the world over are crucial dates, as they remind us of the respect deserved for those who fought and died in horrific circumstances, they allow us to reflect on the cruel lessons of war and they even contribute to a countries identity and national pride. With this in mind- it is impossible to believe that this day could ever be forgotten.
Obviously we will never go through the same emotions and thoughts that the soldiers went through- because we will never be able to see the Great War through their eyes- even the press reports of that time were the manufactured products of the propaganda machine. But we can always appreciate the sacrifice they made and how it has influenced the world we live in today.
And in response to those who believe not enough people are supporting the cause here is my answer; while this may not beat the all-time high of 45 million poppies produced in the immediate aftermath of World War II, this year's Poppy Appeal - launched last week - will almost certainly beat the fund-raising record, set last year, of £30 million. If this is not the recognition of peoples support then what is? Even the X factor is doing its bit by donating the proceeds from their number one single Heroes in support of the Help For Heroes and the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal. It sold 189,600 copies this week, bringing the total sold to date to 502,844 copies.
Speaking from a personal note, I was born on November 11th at 11:30am, and because of this, I have constantly been reminded of how important this day is, so I can say with a lot of confidence that I will never forget the significance of this day.
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. (John McCrae)
For more information about Remembrance Day check out this link from the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/remembrance/