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We Will Remember Them

An assembly for Remembrance Day

by Alison Thurlow

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To consider the importance of Remembrance Day.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a collection of 20 items for Kim’s Game in the Assembly, Step 1. These items should include objects that reference Remembrance Day in some way. For example, a toy soldier, a toy gun or water pistol, a poppy, a bugle or trumpet, a sign that says ‘Silence’, a first aid kit, a medal, a diary or calendar opened to show 11 November and a candle.

  • You will need an image of poppies around the Tower of London and the means to display it, available at: http://tinyurl.com/zxb28cx

Assembly

  1. Ask the children if they have heard of a game known as Kim’s Game. Explain that you are going to show them 20 objects and then, after a minute, you will cover up all of the objects and see how many the children can remember. After playing the game initially, ask the children to talk to the person next to them to see how many objects they can remember. Then, compile a list by asking everyone for suggestions.

  2. Ask the children which objects have something to do with Remembrance Day and ask them why they think this.

  3. Explain that the objects have been used for the following reasons.

    - Toy soldier: soldiers fight in wars and many of them have died doing so.
    - Toy gun: guns are used in war.
    Poppy: in this country, people wear poppies at this time of year to show that they are thinking about those who have been killed or injured during wars and conflicts. The poppy is a symbol of remembrance because many poppies grew in the fields around Flanders in Belgium, which is where some of the worst fighting in the First World War occurred.
    - Bugle or trumpet: many services of remembrance include someone playing the Last Post on a bugle or a trumpet. In army life, the Last Post marks the end of a day, or a final farewell, so it is an appropriate symbol to remember people who have died.
    - Silence sign: in many countries, people are asked to keep silent for two minutes on Remembrance Day. During this time, they are asked to think about those who fought, or still fight, on their behalf.
    - First aid kit: many people get injured in wars.
    - Medal: many soldiers were, and still are, awarded medals for their bravery during wars.
    - Diary or calendar: this reminds us of the date of Remembrance Day.
    - Candle: a symbol of remembrance that is used in many church services on Remembrance Sunday.

  4. Explain that Remembrance Sunday takes place every November. Remembrance Sunday is the day when we remember all the servicemen and -women who were killed or injured in the First and Second World Wars, and those who have been killed or injured in more recent wars and conflicts. Remembrance Day itself is on 11 November, but in this country, most events take place on Remembrance Sunday, which is the nearest Sunday to 11 November.

    Ask if anyone knows why Remembrance Day is on 11 November. Explain that it is because at the eleventh hour (11 o’clock) on the eleventh day of the eleventh month (November), the armistice to end the First World War came into effect. The day was originally called ‘Armistice Day’, but after the Second World War, it was renamed ‘Remembrance Day’.

  5. Explain that many soldiers and other people wrote poems about their experiences in the two World Wars. Part of one poem called ‘For the fallen’, written by a man called Laurence Binyon, has become very famous. Part of this poem is read at many Remembrance Day services and parades and is known as the ‘Ode of Remembrance’:

    They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning
    We will remember them.

  6. Optional: Ask if anyone has heard of The Salvation Army. Explain that it is a Christian church and charity that promotes peace, not war. Among many other roles, it also tries to support people who have been affected by war. During the First World War, The Salvation Army helped to run the ambulances for the wounded. Today, The Salvation Army runs canteens where soldiers can go, a place to relax and to offer support. The Salvation Army goes to support soldiers wherever in the world they are posted, and has now been doing this for over 100 years. During the bombings of both World Wars, The Salvation Army offered support and shelter to people who were affected.

Time for reflection

It is useful to remember what happened in the two World Wars and in other conflicts. It is also good to consider that many people in the world - such as members of The Salvation Army - make positive contributions towards peace and care for others. One small thing that you could all do to help those affected by war is to buy a poppy. All of the money collected from the sale of poppies goes to support the soldiers and their families who have been affected by war.

Show the image of poppies around the Tower of London.

You may wish to light a candle and ask the children to sit quietly and think about some of the things they have learnt in today’s assembly.

You may also wish to play a recording of the Last Post, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99tCg596QSc

Song/music

‘Kum ba yah’ (Come and Praise, 68)

Publication date: November 2016   (Vol.18 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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