Thursday 7 November 2013
The First World War officially ended on the eleventh hour on the eleventh day on the eleventh month, 1918 - Armistice Day. The act of a Two Minute Silence began on the anniversary of Armistice Day in 1919 by those who did not want to forget the millions killed, injured and affected. For those wishing to honour the two-minute silence on 11 November at 11am, the following areas will be made available:
- Whitechapel campus: Senior common room, first floor, Garrod Building
- Charterhouse Square campus: room G06, Joseph Rotblat Building
- At the Mile End campus, a short act of remembrance will be taking place, incorporating the silence as well as readings and a wreath-laying. Please gather in the open courtyard of the Queens’ Building (enter via the main foyer) at 10.50am (finishing at 11.05am).
If you are wish to pay your respects but are unable to attend the acts of remembrance at 11am, you can visit the poppy wreaths which will be laid in front of the two display cases at the entrance to the Octagon, Queens’ Building, Mile End campus. Books of remembrance are also open with details about individual QM students who died in the first and second world wars.
The significance of the poppy
Red poppies have been associated with war since the Napoleonic Wars when a writer of that time first noted how the poppies grew over the graves of soldiers. The damage done to the landscape in Flanders Fields during the battle greatly increased the lime content in the soil, leaving the poppy as one of the few plants able to grow in the region.
Inspired by "In Flanders Fields", a poem written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae which reflected on the presence of the poppies on the battleground, American professor Moira Michael resolved at the war's conclusion in 1918 to wear a red poppy year-round to honour the soldiers who died in the war. The practice quickly spread throughout the British Empire. The wearing of poppies in the days leading up to Remembrance Day remains popular in many areas of the Commonwealth, particularly Great Britain, Canada, and South Africa, and in the days leading up to ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand.
Visit the Royal British Legion’s website for more information about Remembrance Day and the Poppy Appeal: http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/.