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11 November: “Remembrance is transmitted, Hope is given”

By Marie Decreme

Today is Remembrance Day: throughout the world, people remember, they remember all the fallen of the First World War; this war that began 100 years ago and ended 4 years later on 11th November 1918 when the Armistice was signed. To pay tribute to the victims of the Great War every year, the English pin poppies to their coat and the French wear bleuets (cornflower).

Again this year, millions of little poppies have flowered on English’s buttonholes between 1st and 11th November: they are worn to remember the young soldiers who fell between 1914 and 1918, notably in fields of poppies in Flanders. In France, cornflowers are pined to people’s chest, to recall the recruits of Class 15 – born in 1895 –, and their trousers pristine blue upon their arrival at the front. In the middle of the battles, cornflowers and poppies were the only flowers that could grow in the mud. A sign of life in these fields destroyed by bombs and fire, when thousands of young soldiers were losing theirs.


The gesture of wearing a poppy or a bleuet is symbolic, but also charitable: the money raised from the sale of poppies and bleuets is donated to Veteran Associations. In the UK, the Poppy Appeal, launched in 1921, enables the Royal British Legion to collect nearly forty million pounds every year, to help the families of service men who were killed or injured for their country. In France, the tradition of bleuet, created in 1934, faded over time. But in the last few years, the movement was relaunched, and more than eight hundred thousand pounds were raised in 2011.

In memory of the victims of yesterday, a support to today’s “broken faces”… Remembrance Day is a thank you to those who gave their lives to give us our freedom. It is also a tribute to all our young men and women who continue to fight to defend it in conflicts around the world.


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