This Sunday the nation will come together to remember the servicemen who have given their lives for our freedom.
Remembrance Sunday takes place annually on the second Sunday of each year. Whilst services take place in many local communities across the country, the best known (and often the focus) is the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.
This event brings together the Queen, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, the leader of the Opposition and other key ministers, members of faith communities and members of the Armed Forces, to remember all who have given their lives in war.
Originally designed to remember the fallen of the First World War, the ceremony came to include those who had died in the Second World War also. In 1980, the ceremony was changed to include all those who had died in conflict in the service of their country.
Wreaths are laid on the Cenotaph as a physical act of remembrance. Another physical act of remembrance is the wearing of the poppy.
The poppy has become a symbol of remembrance for a number of reasons. On the battlefields of the First World War, the ground had often been so churned up and disturbed by the horrors of war that nothing would grow. Except, that is, for the seemingly fragile, yet incredibly resilient Flanders poppy. This beautiful flower inspired Lt Col John McCrae to write the famous poem, ‘In Flanders Fields’, after the Canadian doctor sadly lost one of his friends in Ypres.
It is now a powerful yet humble symbol of remembrance, which will be worn by many this weekend.
We arrange a number of school tours which focus on both the First and Second World Wars. Bring the reality of war to life with a WW1 or WW2 battlefield tour to the Somme, Ypres, Arras, Normandy or Dunkirk. Alternatively, help your students to gain a better understanding of the context in which some of the most emotive war poetry was written with a school English tour to the Somme, Ypres or Amiens. Alternatively, take your ensemble on a school music tour to the WW1 battlefields, where they will have the unforgettable experience of performing at the famous Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate.