The two world wars WW1 and WW 11 were very significant events in our history and both are celebrated in different ways across the globe. Here are some English words and phrases connected with the celebrations in the United Kingdom.
There are actually two separate celebrations very close together and they can be confusing. On the actual day (exact day) the 11 th November annually the British celebrate Armistice Day to remember specifically those who lost their lives and made such a sacrifice in World War 1. It is always celebrated on the 11 th November. A two minute silence (everyone stops working and remains silent for 2 mins) is held at 11 a.m (British time) to mark the signing of the peace treaty (armistice) between the allies and Germany. It is very significant that it took place at the 11th hour of the 11th day in the 11th month of the year (1918).
From the end of October until the end of November British people where the “red poppy” flower as a mark of respect to those who died. The tradition of the poppy dates back in fact to a Canadian doctor who wrote a poem “in Flanders Field” as his way of remembering the terrible circumstances of the great war (WW1). He vowed (promised) that he would wear the poppy flower every year as his symbol to the fallen (those who died). The practice spread to Europe and so today we still wear these flowers (either real or artificial) to indicate (show) that we will never forget either.
The Red Poppy is the official emblem (sign) of those wishing to mark the occasion (remember) and represents the blood spilled in that and other wars. Many charities connected to war veterans (those old soldiers still living) sell poppies in this month to raise money (collect) to assist those veterans who need our help.
The second celebration is known as Remembrance Sunday and takes place on the Sunday nearest to the 11th of November. It recognises all those soldiers who have served the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth in all wars, particularly WWI and WWII. The British Royal family carry out (do ) many engagements around this time and there is of course the official laying down (placing of) of wreaths (bouquets of flowers) at the various war memorials (monuments) up and down (across) the country. In London the ceremony takes place at the Cenotaph (London ‘s official national war memorial).
The first verse of that famous poem is:
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.
You can read more about British traditions here: