Sunday, November 11, 2007

Have you seen the Poppy Man?


Do you remember sitting in school assemblies and listening to stories of the people who fought in The Great War and World War II and hearing about the importance of Remembrance Day?

To a child in the 1970s, the battles of the soldiers that fought in both wars seemed light-years away, wrapped up in history in a time that belonged to the "olden days". Yet, World War II ended only 23 years before I was born.

To highlight the relevance of this timescale, think back to where you were 23 years ago today...in 1984. I bet it doesn't seem that long ago, whether you were watching Postman Pat on TV as a child, following Duran Duran as a teenager or enjoying your independence at the start of your career.

It is only recently that the relative proximity of my childhood to the end of the second world war really occured to me. Many of my teachers will have lived through the war and were probably enlisted. I realise now how I took for granted their accounts of their experiences as well as those of my grandparents. It is also incredible to think that rationing actually ended only 15 years before I was born.

Here in the 21st century the importance of Remembrance Day is as relevant to our society as it has always been. However with an aging population and war veterans becoming fewer in number as each year passes, it is a natural consequence that today's children are at risk of becoming more detached than my generation. What should not be forgotten though is that today is not just about remembering those who have fought and died for their country in the past, but those who have fought in action and are still representing our country in modern times. Whether we are remembering the veterans of the Falklands or those who are currently in the Gulf, it is important that the significance of Remembrance Day is never lost.

The Royal British Legion works hard on its Poppy Appeal so that it can support ex-servicemen and their dependents, providing financial, social and emotional support where needed and it is interesting to see how its work has been brought right into the 21st Century, which is a must for promoting the cause to the younger generations that are learning about the history of wars and our country's traditions.

Did you know that you can now send poppies to your friends on Facebook and that if you have a "Second Life" account, there is the opportunity to share the Remembrance Day experience at a virtual cenotaph. You can even download Poppy wallpaper for your mobile phone.

The Royal British Legion has also recently launched a blog, highlighting the adventures of the Poppyman. If you'd like to see what he's been up to (and it is worth a look), hop over
to http://whereispoppyman.blogspot.com/

And on that note, I'll leave you to his adventures and to your own Remembrance Day.

Pictures courtesy of The Royal British Legion

3 Comments:

florries mum said...

We went to the Remembrance Day parade on Angel Hill yesterday to support Bury Boys Dad and uncle marching with the retired Grenadier Gaurds. It was very moving and dignified, and during the two minutes silence several of the dogs around us started shivering or whimpering, as if they could feel the emotion. They had an Apache helicopter fly past, and this seemed to bring the relevance of the Remembrance to the present day somehow. Chatting to one of the policewomen on the way home, who we know, she said she had seen lots of people there who had no connection on the surface with the day. But so many people have a connection without having to think very hard. As you say, it is all still relevant. My Dad served in WWII, and was a POW in Germany for three years, my brother and brother-in-law served in the Falklands, but what really brought it to the fore for me was when my nephew-in-law was killed serving five years ago. When you know some-one who dies, and see how it affects someone you love, and try to multiply that with the number who have been lost over the years,it makes you wonder about the world we live in.

grumpyoldwoman said...

I was there too and a young soldier actually fainted (he said his tie was too tight). But despite still being as white as a sheet and feeling dire he insisted on standing to attention throughout the parade and then attending the church service - he alone made me proud of our servicemen - they are as brave today as they ever were.

21st Century Mummy said...

Sorry about my absence on the blog, I've been a bit busy...but...

Florries mum - thank you so much for your write-up about the Remembrance Parade, it is a fabulous contribution to support this post and so meaningful.

Hi Grumpyoldwoman - thank you too. The poor young soldier. It does illustrate the spirit of dedication that a remembrance day recognises.

21st C Dad and I spent some time thinking about his brother who lost many friends and colleagues when their Nimrod crashed last year whilst serving in the gulf. No matter what pain and tragedy our servicemen and families suffer, many would not change their chosen direction, which is truly admirable.