Why is there a Poppy Appeal every year?
by Revd Alan M. Barker (revised, originally published in 2009)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider the significance of the annual Poppy Appeal.
Preparation and materials
You will need a Remembrance Day poppy and the poem, ‘In Flanders fields’, available at: http://tinyurl.com/qfplfu. You may also like to have a reader for the poem.
You will also need a large piece of card with the following acrostic written on it, for the ‘Assembly’, Step 6.
Be Proud of those who help and serve
Think of Others in need
Remember People who suffer because of war
Reflect upon how Peace is important
Realize that peace begins with You!
Please bear in mind the needs and natural anxieties of those in the school community who may have family members on active service with the armed forces.
More information about the Poppy Appeal is available at: www.britishlegion.org.uk
Show the Remembrance Day poppy.
Discuss the poppy’s significance. The poppies are sold every year by the Royal British Legion, a charity that provides caring support to those who have served, and others who are still serving, in the armed forces.
The first Poppy Day was in 1921, three years after the end of the First World War. During this war, over 18 million people died worldwide and another 23 million were injured. Many thousands of young men returned to this country so badly injured that they were unable to work and were desperately in need of help.
The poppy was chosen as a symbol for the appeal because in Flanders, west Belgium, which was the scene of some of the worst fighting of the war, bright-red poppies grew in their thousands on ground that had been churned up by the fighting. These flowers were delicate, but resilient, and their colour reflected the awful bloodshed.
The first Poppy Day appeal was inspired by a poem, ‘In Flanders fields’, written by John McCrae, which we will hear now.
Read the poem, ‘In Flanders fields’, available at: http://tinyurl.com/qfplfu or ask the reader to do so.
The Remembrance Day poppies are made at a Royal British Legion poppy factory, which employs ex-servicemen and women, many of whom have disabilities. About 36 million poppies are made every year. Workers at the factory also make the wreaths that are laid in remembrance ceremonies.
Point out that when we buy a poppy, we are supporting the welfare (caring) work of the Royal British Legion. Wearing a poppy shows that we remember and care about others and are grateful for those who gave their lives to protect us. It also reminds us of those people who are facing war today and the people who are fighting for peace.
Show the ‘Poppy’ acrostic.
When you wear your poppy, you can:
be Proud of those who help and serve
think of Others in need
remember People who suffer because of war
reflect upon how Peace is important
and realize that peace begins with You!
Time for reflection
Invite a time of quiet reflection and gently review each of the above points.
Thank you for all those who have given themselves for the protection of others.
Thank you for all those who fought in the First and Second World Wars to bring peace to the world.
Please be with all those who serve in the armed forces today.
Please help each of us to do our part towards bringing peace.
‘The peace prayer (Lead me from death to life)’ (Come and Praise, 140)