The Importance of Remembering
Poppies and remembering
by Gordon and Ronni Lamont
Suitable for Key Stage 3
To consider the importance of remembering, and how our memories shape us as individuals.
Preparation and materials
- You will need various things that carry personal memories for you, such as photographs, souvenirs, event programmes, tickets and mementoes of friends.
- You will also need a remembrance poppy or an image of one and the means to display it. An example is available at: https://tinyurl.com/y6yw7ngr
- Optional: you may wish to read, or ask a student to read, the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’. It is available at: https://tinyurl.com/y25rlfes
- Introduce the theme of remembering.
Ask the students to pause for a moment and remember something that happened yesterday.
Then, ask the students to think of a memory from last week.
Next, ask the students to think of a happy memory from their childhood. You may wish to ask the students to share this with the people seated in their group.
- Show the items that carry personal memories for you.
Explain that objects can often help us to remember times, places and people, and that sometimes, we call these objects mementoes.
Show your mementoes one at a time, telling a brief story about the person or event that they remind you of and why they are important to you.
Point out that mementoes such as photographs are important because they remind us of important events and they help us to be thankful for the people and events that have shaped our lives.
- Show the remembrance poppy or the image of one.
Point out that poppies help us to remember people who have served in the armed forces because these flowers grew in their thousands on the First World War battlefields after the war ended. This is described in a famous poem called ‘In Flanders Fields’.
Optional: read, or ask a student to read, the poem.
- Since the end of the First World War, poppies have become a symbol for those who have lost their lives in conflict. The money raised by the sale of remembrance poppies is used to help servicemen and women who are still alive and the families of those who have lost loved ones in wars.
- Point out that a poppy helps us to remember those who have served their country and died in wars. It is important to remember the past so that we can learn lessons for the future. Remind the students of the wars that continue today. Encourage them to take time to think about areas of conflict and to be grateful that they live in a place that is free from war.
Time for reflection
Ask the students to spend a moment in silence, thinking about those who are important to them.
You may wish to play reflective music and read the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ at this time.
Use the following meditation to encourage remembrance of those who have died in conflict.
We remember people who have helped us in the past, those we knew and those we didn’t know.
Today, we think especially of people who have died in wars and fighting.
We take a moment to think of some special people: soldiers, sailors, pilots, emergency workers and all who risk their lives today for our safety.
Together, we say thank you.
‘We’ll meet again’ by Dame Vera Lynn, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsM_VmN6ytk (3.04 minutes long)