By Jane Bretin
Each year, the world celebrates the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month as the end of World War 1.
It is traditional, in countries across the Commonwealth, to wear a poppy in the weeks leading up to the 11th of November. The badge symbolises a tribute to ex service men and women who fought for our freedom. The symbolical date marks the signing of the Armistice in 1918 but it has evolved into a day of remembrance since 1921. Originally, the date was put forward to remember those who had died in both World Wars but it now also includes the legions fighting in subsequent conflicts and particularly the ongoing Iraq war.
Ceremonies are held across the country but most of them take place on Remembrance Sunday, the Sunday closest to the date, to allow more people to attend. This year again, no less then 7 parades will be held in the greater Edinburgh area, including one on High Street. Religious services in the region will also commemorate war veterans as well as those who lost their lives for the country.
The universities in Edinburgh, Edinburgh University, Napier University and Herriot-Watt University, hosted a joint ceremony for staff, students and their families and friends, on Sunday 8th of November. The tribute included a service, the laying of wreaths and the traditional 2 minutes of silence. For those who were unable to attend, they are holding an other one on Sunday 14th of November. Scotland’s National Remembrance ceremony will also take place place at Edinburgh University on Sunday 14th. The service will be held at the Stone of Remembrance in McEwan Hall at 10:40am.
This year, the Poppy Appeal started on the 28th of October and is worn by many, including news presenters and celebrities. The poppy badges are available after donation in many shops as well as online. The poppy symbol comes from a poem by John McCrae called Flanders’ Fields, written after he saw the combat fields in the Belgian province of Flanders and in the North of France. He was moved by the devastation and noticed that poppies were the only flowers that grew on the battlefields.
The Poppy Appeal is launched each year by the Royal British Legion to provide ex service men and women with everything from bare essentials to medical care or psychological support. Donations can be made through the Royal British Legion and the Poppy websites.