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Remembrance Day – Lest We Forget

November 11, 2016
lest we forget remembrance day

November 11 is Remembrance Day a day which was originally commemorated to remember the fallen soldiers of World War One but now also includes remembrance of all veterans who have served their country.

lest we forget remembrance day

In 1914 our Australian soldiers, as part of the Commonwealth joined the British to fight in World War One.  They volunteered and many were never to return.  I read a book by Thomas Keneally – The Daughters of Mars which is about nurses in WWI and I highly recommend it – Daughters of Mars

world war one

World War One was supposed to be the ‘war that ends all wars’, however today almost a century later our world is still in turmoil.  People are still suffering and enduring the ravages of war which is a sad indictment on our world.

When did Remembrance Day start?

The first Remembrance Day was held in 1919 and was originally called Armistice day.  This was the day that at the 11th hour, of the 11th month  of the 11th year that the First World War ended in 1918 when the armistice was signed by . After the Second World War the name was changed to Remembrance Day.

Remembrance Day

What do the Poppies symbolise?

The Flanders poppy, which is a colourful red was taken by the Allied Nations as the symbol of remembrance to be worn on Armistice Day.  This was because of the poppies which were the first flowers to bloom on the devastated battlefields of Flanders and Belgium.  It originates from the poem In Flanders Field by John McCrae written in 1915.

How do we remember?

In Australia we have the National War Memorial and each year on November 11,  memorial services are held Australia wide. We pause at 11am for two minutes silence to remember those brave men and women and to give thanks for the freedom of our country. The Last Post is played at the end of the Remembrance Day ceremonies, and it’s haunting and emotional notes still bring tears to many eyes.

The following extract from the poem ‘Ode to the Fallen’ was written in September 1914 by Laurence Binyon who was too old to serve but volunteered in hospitals working with wounded. French solders.  This extract is usually read at Remembrance Day and Anzac Day ceremonies.

Remembrance Day

Read the full poem here

Having a husband who was a Vietnam Veteran and who was called up for national service in the late 60’s, I have seen what war can do to people who are serving their country.  My husband is a little older than me so I was in high school during the Vietnam War.  I still remember though, the protests rallying against the War and also how poorly our Vietnam Veterans were treated when they came home.  Of course, that has changed now – but perhaps too little, too late.

Ironically, November 13 is  World Kindness Day.  You might also  like to read my post 10 Benefits of Showing Kindness

War to me is never an answer but alas it will always be a part of the world in which we live.

So today on this Remembrance Day take time to reflect on those who have given us our freedom yesterday and even today and spare a thought for those who are still suffering and are oppressed.

Lest We Forget

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16 Comments

  • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt November 11, 2016 at 12:47

    Really wonderful information, Sue, thanks for sharing about Remembrance Day! In the US, Friday is Veteran’s Day (renamed from Armistice Day that you mentioned). Just love that last quote!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 11, 2016 at 17:41

      Yes I saw that it was called Veteran’s Day when I was researching Terri. The poem is very touching isn’t it? Have a beautiful day my friend.

  • Reply Seona November 11, 2016 at 17:20

    The local Nursing Home here in Maleny is visited by the Light Horses – every year fewer of them ?

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 11, 2016 at 17:46

      Yes unfortunately Seona but we will never forget them and their sacrifices. Thanks for stopping by and have a beautiful day.

  • Reply David Donaldson November 11, 2016 at 18:02

    Remembrance Day was re-purposed away from the original context by the Howard government in 1997. Armistice Day had been declared by King George V in 1919 to mark “the Great Deliverance” brought by peace, which applied of course to those now specified by the Australian War Memorial as “Australians killed in conflict” but also to their fiances, widows, children and wider families, and further the enormous loss of life among civilians in Europe and the colossal physical damage, such as the world had never seen. The armistice was a Great Delivery from the horror of the new kind of war. All of that was understood to apply not only to Australia but for the first time in history to the whole of Europe and much of the world. That is why the war was called The Great War. That is why Armistice Day was a thanks for deliverance from ghastly destruction and a promise not to forget the value of peace. The narrowing of the definition by Governor General Sir William Deane, as Sue says, does recognise the brave men and women but seems to wash away the enormity of the broader losses. From ‘Nodding Towards Ninety but Can Remember’.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 12, 2016 at 10:32

      Yes I agree David. As I was researching I felt that it did diminish the WW1 effort and thank you for your indepth comment. I truly appreciate your thoughts.

  • Reply Molly Stevens November 11, 2016 at 22:09

    What a wonderful tradition to pause at 11 for 2 minutes to honor those who have served. I am sad that it is not a day I have off even though it is an official US holiday. Besides wanting every possible holiday off from work, I feel it is a disservice to those who have served to continue our day as though it is like every other. I didn’t know the story of the poppies. Very interesting.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 12, 2016 at 10:36

      Yes we don’t have a holiday on Remembrance Day but we do have a public holiday on ANZAC to commemorate the Gallipoli fiasco where we lost so many young men during WW1.

  • Reply Mackenzie Glanville November 13, 2016 at 13:36

    SO glad you wrote this Sue, it is so important we don’t forget xx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 16, 2016 at 08:05

      Thanks Mackenzie!

  • Reply Crystal November 14, 2016 at 02:05

    Wonderful . . . My husband is retired Navy, he served in and through Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, it was a long 20 years. Thank you for this post ❤️

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 16, 2016 at 08:10

      Oh Crystal it must have been a very emotional time for you and your family. I’m pleased your husband is home safely. Thanks for commenting.

  • Reply Carol Cassara November 14, 2016 at 23:55

    Oh,the poppies. The poppies are such a lovely remembrance. Just evocative. Love.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 16, 2016 at 08:12

      I adore poppies especially the red ones a beautiful way to remember our brave men and women.

  • Reply Silly Mummy November 17, 2016 at 09:22

    The First World War was such mindless and futile slaughter, and a type of warfare not seen since and inconceivable to us now. Those men suffered such horrendous conditions. Sadly, I think in many ways we HAVE forgotten. I feel that Remembrance Day, at least over here, has become quite politicised, and too many people now seem to see it as an excuse for the promotion of nationalism, and it is as such quite heavily missing the point of what it was that we were supposed to not forget. But that is just my view. The enduring images of the poppy fields, and so much of the poetry of WWI, are so very haunting and beautiful, aren’t they?

    • Reply Sue Loncaric November 17, 2016 at 14:33

      Yes I agree and I think I realised it when I started writing the post. I thought it was only for WWI and then realised we had extended it to all service men and women. It seems to take away from the original ‘war to end all wars’ when it was so much harder for the soldiers than today if we are really honest. It does get politicised like most things these day – unfortunately.

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