Red Nose Day
To celebrate Red Nose Day and how to include people who might feel left out.
by Penny Hollander
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To think about and remember with thanks those who have given their lives in sacrifice so that we can live in a more secure world.
Preparation and materials
- You will need some poppies and a collecting tin from the Royal British Legion.
- Optional: Bunches of flowers (see point 1).
- The different sections of the assembly could be read by some of the children.
- Flowers are sometimes used as a gift for remembering birthdays and other special events, such as weddings and Mothering Sunday. The messages they give include: ‘Thank you’, ‘I remember you’ or ‘You’re special’.
A few children can hold bunches or single flowers to indicate some of the different times we give flowers. Perhaps talk about these occasions and the flowers that are chosen.
- In early November we often see people wearing another kind of flower. It doesn’t bloom at this time of the year in this country, but on the streets, in shops, at railway stations and in school, red paper poppies are sold and then worn on jackets, coats, jumpers. Why?
A child can hold the tray of poppies and collecting tin. Take the children’s answers and expand if necessary.
It is to remember those who have died, sacrificing their lives to ensure that we remain a free country; those who fought and gave their lives for the rest of us and our future. During the fierce fighting of the First World War, many fields became battlegrounds and wild habitats were destroyed. In Flanders, or Belgium, where many thousands of people died, the first flower that took seed and grew after this destruction was the poppy. Poppies have been used ever since to remind us of the war, and the sacrifice of those who died to ensure a more secure and free world for all of us.
At the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, in 1918, the Armistice, or peace agreement, was signed. This signalled the end of the First World War. At 11 a.m. on 11 November 1918.
The Royal British Legion, a charity dedicated to helping the victims of war and their families, took the poppy as their emblem. It is a reminder to each one of us to say thank you to all those who died: during both world wars, and in more recent conflicts across the world. Buying poppies is not only a way of saying thank you; the money is much needed in order to help those affected by war – victims and the families of those who have died.
Towns and villages throughout the country celebrate Remembrance Day, particularly remembering those in their own community who have suffered loss through war. People gather at special memorials in their local community and wreaths of poppies are laid at the memorials. Everyone observes a two-minute silence at the same time – 11 a.m. This gives us a chance to say thank you, silently and together, and reflect on how war affects us all. It is important that we don’t forget those local people, local heroes.
Time for reflection
Let’s stop and think for a moment and say thank you.
They shall not grow 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.
We will now do what everyone in the country does at this time to remember: spend time in silence.
We remember those who have died in order that our country remains free. We say a silent thank you to them all.
(Have one or two minutes of silence – whatever is appropriate.)
We want to say thank you for all those who have fought and died for the freedom we enjoy today.
We remember past conflicts, but we also remember all those who are fighting and dying in current wars, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We remember too their families and friends and ask that you will give comfort to them.
Teach us to be compassionate and caring people,
ever mindful of the needs of others.
We will remember.
‘Make me a channel of your peace’ (Come and Praise, 147) or ‘Last night I had the strangest dream’.