The date 11.11.11 has had special significance since 1918. It was first celebrated in remembrance of those who were lost in the First World War. It is celebrated on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, and this, the 11th year. Poppies are the symbol of this day, which is known as Veteran’s Day in the US, and Remembrance Day in many Commonwealth countries.The red poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem "In Flanders Fields". These poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their brilliant red colour an appropriate symbol for the blood spilled in the war. The annual Poppy Appeal raises more than £40 million a year.
In the UK, almost every person you see around this time of year is wearing a simple red poppy with one leaf. As these gentlemen grilled James Murdock, they all had their poppy on their jackets. These poppies are sold in every tube station, street corner and open venue by veterans of all sorts of UK wars. They generally cost £1.00 each. But you can get nicer versions than the generic paper ones.In this recent painting of HM, she’s wearing five poppies, but they are in a diamond brooch. The details in this painting are amazing, from the poppies to the time on her watch, which is set at 11:00. Unusually, HM’s legs are showing in this portrait, which was commissioned to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the Royal British Legion who run the Poppy Appeal. You can see the details of the five poppies and the diamond brooch better in this image. The wreaths are always made of faux poppies because real ones are not in season at this time of year. HM and her family, which has strong ties to the services, always place wreaths at the Cenotaph in London, and at other cenotaphs throughout the Commonwealth.
I still have a poppy I picked up in the UK the last time I was there, and it’s stuck in my jacket pocket as a silent remembrance of those who have served in our wars. It’s held together with tape and the colours have faded.As you move through the day, please stop to remember at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Thank you.