The British and citizens of many Commonwealth countries wear poppies in the days leading up to November 11, recalling the Armistice signed on that day at the 11th hour in 1918.

Americans also wear poppies, but on Memorial Day, formerly Decoration Day, the last Monday in May. The day was May 30 until the 1968 Uniform Holidays Bill transferred some public holidays to the closest Monday, enabling three-day weekends. Decoration Day began as a remembrance of Civil War dead. After the end of the First World War, the emphasis changed.

Remembrance Day and Memorial Day both recall the sacrifices of those who died in military service to their respective countries.

The poster below comes from Hallee the Homemaker’s website, which discusses the immortal poem, ‘In Flanders Fields’ by a Canadian, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD. The poem inextricably links fields of poppies with the soldiers and officers who died there. McCrae wrote the poem after burying a fellow lieutenant in the Canadian Army.

 

On Remembrance Sunday and Remembrance Day, religious services recall our war dead. Below is an Act of Remembrance from the Arthur Rank Centre. After the memorial wreath has been placed, the clergyperson leading the service recites it, and the congregation responds at the end:

Let us remember before God,
and commend to his sure keeping
those who have died for their country in war;
those whom we knew,
and whose memory we treasure;
and all who have lived and died
in the service of their fellows,
seeking justice and peace.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
age shall not weary them,
nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
we will remember them.
We will remember them.

I hope that those in Britain and other nations where Remembrance Day is observed will have an opportunity to observe the customary two-minute silence and give thanks to God for those men and women who, in courage and valour, gave their lives that we might have our freedom today.

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