Each year in November I take the time to have a think or two on the Royal British Legion’s annual Remembrance Day campaign
I check out their website, I look at what they’ve sent me through the post, I either get a Poppy or I give a donation online and I reflect on those I know. . .
My grandfather, at Dunkirk in 1940, now considered to be a victory in defeat because of the efforts of the Little Ships in rescuing almost 340,000 Allied Forces but, for him, the one experience in all his wartime escapades he would never speak about.
Other family members who didn’t see conflict but who “did their duty”, friends who served in all three branches, family who are still serving now, historical figures in the past who made their mark in some small – or very large in one case – way.
This year the Legion is asking people to #RethinkRemembrance. To look at the annual appeal in a different way as the wars which it originally commemorated move further into the past and yet the numbers it helps wane not.
In recreating one of the most famous First World War poems – Canadian John McCrae’s In Flanders Field – across six UK (and one French) locations, the Legion hopes to encourage people to consider the meaning of the poppy as a symbol of both Remembrance and hope for the Armed Forces community, past and present.
In Flanders Fields was written after poppies bloomed on the battlefields of the First World War, despite the death and destruction around them. It’s that life force growing in the most difficult of circumstances that connects the poppy with a message of hope.
- The poem lines are located at Royal Hospital Chelsea in London, on Dunkirk Beach, on the White Cliffs of Dover, at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, in Cardiff Bay, at Salford Quays in Manchester and outside the Sage in Gateshead.