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Remembering: Remembrance Sunday, 11 November

To understand that remembering stirs up many different emotions.

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Key Stage 1


To understand that remembering stirs up many different emotions.

Preparation and materials

  • A Remembrance Day poppy.
  • Computer image of a poppy or a field of poppies.
  • Since 1995, the fiftieth anniversary of the ending of the Second World War in Europe, it is again becoming the custom to remember the signing of the Armistice at 11 a.m. on 11 November 1918. There is often, for example, a silence of 2 minutes at 11 a.m.  


  1. Explain that we are going to find out how good our memories are. How much can we remember?

    Say that you are going to start by asking questions about today, for example:

    –  Who took in your line today?
    –  Who did you stand beside in the line?
    – How did you feel when you got up this morning?

    What about last weekend?

    –  What did you do on Saturday afternoon?
    –  What was on TV on Sunday evening?

    How about last week? (Ask questions appropriate to your own school events.)

    It becomes more difficult to remember events the further away from them you go.
  2. Play the following game. Give some word clues and the children have to work out what is being remembered. For example:

    –  garden, fire, beefburgers (barbecue)
    –  sunshine, ice cream, shells, sand (day at the beach)
    –  friends, parcels, balloons, cake (birthday party).

    Other ideas might be Sports Day, Pancake Day, a wedding.
  3. These events may have happened quite a long time ago. They are remembered because they were fun. Happy times tend to stay in our memories for a long time.

    Sad times can stay in our memories for a long time, too.

    (You may want to mention pets that have died, friends who have moved away.)
  4. Show the poppy.

    This poppy is used to help us remember something that happened a very long time ago. Very brave men and women from our country had to go and fight in a long war, which we call the First World War, on the continent of Europe. Many of these soldiers died and didn’t come home.

    Their families and friends were very sad. Everyone was sad because these brave soldiers were fighting for the good of the whole country. How could everyone in the whole country show the families who had lost loved ones that the nation was thinking about them and remembering too?

    It was decided that there would be a special day every year for remembering and praying. The date chosen was 11 November, because 11 November 1918 was the day when the Armistice was signed (an armistice is an agreement to end fighting).This day was called Armistice Day or Remembrance Day.

    It was also decided that everyone should wear a red poppy on that day. This was because many hundreds of red poppies were growing in the battlefields where many of our soldiers lost their lives in the First World War.
  5. From 1939 to 1945 there was another terrible world war: the Second World War. After this, it was decided to move Remembrance Day from November 11 to the second Sunday in November. This Sunday is called Remembrance Sunday.

    On Remembrance Sunday we remember the British and Commonwealth servicemen and women who died in two world wars. We also remember the men and women in the armed forces who have given their lives in all the wars that have taken place since the ending of the Second World War. There are parades and special services, and poppies are laid at war memorials.

    This year we will be thinking especially of many brave soldiers who are still fighting in dangerous places, such as Afghanistan.

    Wearing a red poppy will mean, ‘We are remembering together.’

Time for reflection

Show image of poppy, and of the poppies at Flanders.

Dear God,
thank you for the many happy memories we have.
We are sorry that some people have sad memories at this time of year
as they remember those who have died for our country.
May we wear our red poppies with love and compassion,
and may we remember and be thankful.


‘Peace is flowing’ (Come and Praise, 144).
You might like to play the Enigma Variations by Elgar, which is associated with remembrance.

Publication date: November 2012   (Vol.14 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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