This year has seen some new things for us when celebrating November 11, known as Armistice Day, Veterans' Day, and Remembrance Day. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the peace treaty was signed ending World War I. The day is remembered world wide in many different ways.
In America, it is Veterans' Day and a federal holiday. Most people have the day off from work and many military ceremonies are held commemorating the sacrifices of those who died in World War I and in other wars and battles in defense of our country. I celebrated on the eve of Veterans' Day by having Wells Bombardier Burning Gold, a nicely patriotic sounding beer. It tasted good too! And we played Memoir '44, a game I received for my birthday. It simulates various battles from World War II, mostly around the D-Day invasion. We fought the battle for Pegasus Bridge, which was won historically by the Brits. They also won when we played. It was fun.
My wife has the day off work on Monday, since we Americans can't be deprived of a holiday if it falls on a Saturday or a Sunday, as this 2012 Veterans' Day does. The children are still in school since the British system doesn't have it as a bank holiday.
In the United Kingdom, the day is more focused on World War I. A minute of silence is held at 11:00 a.m. Many people wear poppies on their clothes as a reminder of the sacrifice made. Jacob even made a poppy at school, where they were also selling poppies to the parents.
|Jacob's poppy is on top; the purchased one on the bottom|
Poppies are used because of their prominence in the poem "In Flanders Field" by John McCrae. He wrote it in 1915 after the death of a friend in the Second Battle of Ypres. Read more about the origin of the poem here. Here is the text of the poem.
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.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.