Poppies and Remembering
Remembrance Sunday is on 8 November 2020
by Janice Ross (revised, originally published in 2010)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider that remembering stirs up various emotions.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a remembrance poppy.
- Have available the following images and the means to display them during the assembly:
- a poppy, available at: https://tinyurl.com/yxvtbhtr
- a field of poppies, available at: https://tinyurl.com/y2ou7ytj
- Have available the YouTube video ‘The Last Post for Remembrance’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 1.52 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDS3TxtGaQ0
- Today, we are going to think about how good our memories are. How much can we remember?
Let’s start by asking ourselves some questions about today.
– What did you do as soon as you got out of bed?
– What did you eat for breakfast?
– How did you feel when you got to school this morning?
- Next, let’s think about last weekend.
– What did you do on Saturday afternoon?
– What did you eat on Sunday?
- How about last week? (Ask questions that are appropriate to your own school events.)
Have you noticed how it becomes more difficult to remember events the further back in time they are?
- Tell the children that you are going to play a game where you will give them some words and they have to work out what event is being remembered. For example:
– garden, fire, beefburgers (a barbecue)
– sunshine, ice cream, shells, sand (a day at the beach)
– friends, parcels, balloons, cake (a birthday party)
Other ideas might be Sports Day, Pancake Day or a wedding.
- These events may have happened quite a long time ago, but 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 wish to discuss sad things that have happened, such as pets that have died or friends who have moved away. Remember to be sensitive to the fact that some children might have recently encountered traumatic events.)
- Show the remembrance poppy and the image of the poppy.
The poppy is used to help us remember something that happened over a hundred years ago. Many brave people from our country had to go and fight in the First World War, mainly in Europe, but also further afield. The conflict went on for four long years. Many soldiers died and didn’t come home.
Their families and friends were very sad. Everyone was sad because these brave soldiers had been fighting for the good of the country. They wanted to think of a way to 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 this was the day in 1918 when the special agreement to end the First World War - called an armistice - was signed. For many years, the day was known as Armistice Day, but it was later renamed as Remembrance Day.
- It was also decided that everyone should wear a red poppy on that day. This was because thousands of red poppies had sprung up on the battlefields where many soldiers lost their lives during the First World War.
Show the image of a field of poppies.
From 1939 to 1945, there was another terrible war: the Second World War. In the UK, the two-minute silence that happened on Armistice Day was moved from 11 November to the second Sunday in November so that it wouldn’t interfere with all the work happening in factories to help the war effort. The day was called Remembrance Sunday.
On this day, we remember the servicemen and women who fought and died in two world wars. We also remember the people in the armed forces who have given their lives in wars that have taken place since the end of the Second World War. There are parades and special services, and poppy wreaths are laid at war memorials.
Time for reflection
Show the images of a poppy and a field of poppies again.
Remind the children that wearing a red poppy means, ‘We are remembering together.’
Thank you for the many happy memories that 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.
‘The Last Post’, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDS3TxtGaQ0 (1.52 minutes long)
A selection of popular wartime songs is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTppXrpJ07M (just over an hour long)
- You may wish to explore The Royal British Legion’s website, available at: https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/
The Legion is a charity that supports members of the armed forces and their families.
- There are some great Remembrance Day activities available at: https://www.redtedart.com/remembrance-day-activities/