Remembrance Day and the significance of the Poppy
Remembrance Day, also known as Armistice Day or Poppy Day is celebrated on the 2nd Sunday in November. It is always the Sunday closest to November 11. It marks the day World War One ended, at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month, back in 1918. A two-minute silence is held at 11am to remember the people who have died in wars.
On this day, there are usually ceremonies at war memorials, cenotaphs and churches throughout the country, as well as abroad. The anniversary is used to remember all the people who have died in wars, not just World War One. This includes World War Two, the Falklands War, the Gulf War, and conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In late 1914, (100 years ago) the fields of Northern France and Flanders were once again ripped open as World War One raged through Europe's heart. Once the conflict was over the poppy was one of the only plants to grow on the otherwise barren battlefields.
The significance of the poppy as a lasting memorial symbol to the fallen was realised by the Canadian surgeon John McCrae in his poem In Flanders Fields. The poppy came to represent the immeasurable sacrifice made by his comrades and quickly became a lasting memorial to those who died in World War One and later conflicts. It was adopted by The Royal British Legion as the symbol for their Poppy Appeal, in aid of those serving in the British Armed Forces, after its formation in 1921. Not many of our ex-servicemen are left to tell of their personal experiences in battle, but the Poppy Appeal must live on, to assist in providing support for a good way of life for those who served.
Remembrance Day this November will be observed Sunday, the 13th commencing at 10:00 a.m. During this period, a brief religious service and wreath laying session will be carried out at the cenotaph, opposite the Cathedral of St. Jago de la Vega. The cenotaph is the public war memorial usually in Jamaica towns and is a significant part of the nation’s military and Foreign Service heritage. It is originally built as physical reminders of the ultimate sacrifice made by thousands of Jamaicans who died during military service in the Jamaica Regiment and the Royal Air Force.
Guard of honor will be provided by the Jamaica Combined Cadet Force and the Jamaica Defence JDF Force will be providing escorts, buglers and centuries.
All are invited to attend this significant event in honor of our fallen soldiers and those who are still representing our country today.