What Do You Remember?
The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal and the centenary of the end of the First World War
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider the importance of remembering the sacrifices made by the armed forces, both past and present.
Preparation and materials
- You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (What Do You Remember) and the means to display them.
The presentation includes images of occasions that might be especially memorable to the children, including Christmas, birthdays, Passover, Diwali and weddings, before moving on to the Poppy Appeal.
- Have available some images of special occasions in the school. If possible, these should be displayed on a screen.
- Optional: you may wish to show the YouTube video ‘Rethink remembrance’ by the Royal British Legion, in which case you will also need the means to do so. It is 0.30 minutes long and is available at: https://tinyurl.com/y8s2dtbg
- More information about the Poppy Appeal is available at: https://tinyurl.com/yb52bnup
- Have Slide 1 showing as the children enter the room.
Ask the children if any of them can recall some favourite memories, such as a particular holiday, a special present or a happy memory of playing with friends.
Point out that memories are special. Sometimes, things can jog our memories and help us to remember events that have happened in the past.
- Explain that you are going to show the children a series of pictures and you want them to say what event or season the picture depicts. For each picture, you will then ask one child to share a memory of that event.
Show Slide 2.
For example, the first picture shows a Christmas tree and presents, so the event must be Christmas and you will ask one child to share a special memory they have from Christmas.
Adapt the slides as appropriate to your school. The slides show the following events:
- Slide 3 shows a birthday party
- Slide 4 shows a Passover celebration
- Slide 5 shows a Diwali celebration
- Slide 6 shows two weddings
- If available, show some images of special occasions in the school.
Ask a child to describe something that he/she enjoyed about each event. Point out that photographs are a great way of jogging our memories about events that have happened in the past.
- Explain that in November, we have a very special time to remember.
Show Slide 7.
Ask the children what the slide shows and why poppies might be used at this time of year to jog our memories.
- Explain that during the First World War, lots of countryside was destroyed during the fighting and the land became a sea of mud. However, despite such a bleak landscape, poppies grew and flourished there, inspiring the poem ‘In Flanders fields’, which was written by a Canadian soldier in 1915. In 1921, three years after the First World War ended, the poppy started to be used as a symbol to remember people who had served in the armed forces.
Show Slide 8.
- The Royal British Legion, which organizes the Poppy Appeal every year, is keen to encourage people to remember not only those who have served in different wars, but also those who are serving today.
- Optional: show the YouTube video, ‘Rethink remembrance’.
Time for reflection
Explain that this year is a particularly special year because it marks the hundred-year anniversary of the end of the First World War. At 11 o’clock on 11 November – the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month - people will stop and be silent to take the time to remember those who served in the First World War. Some of these people died serving their countries, some were injured and others came home and lived with the memories of the war. They fought because they wanted there to be peace in the world and to help make the world a better place.
Encourage the children to close their eyes and be quiet for two minutes as they think about people who are serving with the armed forces and people who are living in war-torn areas today.
Thank you for all those who have fought for the freedom that we enjoy today.
We remember past conflicts, but we also remember those who are fighting in current wars in different areas of the world.
We remember their families and friends and ask that you will give them comfort.
Please help us to be compassionate and caring people.
Please help us always to think of others and to work hard at keeping the peace.