Remembrance Day 2023

Remembrance Day is a solemn day. It is a day for grieving. It is a day to look back and appreciate, give thanks and celebrate those who gave their lives so that we could live ours. Those that fell are the very best of us and their memory should be a light to us now as we fumble our way through these darkest of times.

We owe them that at the very least.

And so, for the benefit of the uninitiated and those who would do well to touch on a caring reminder, we have put together some facts about Remembrance Day in the UK.

We hope you enjoy and benefit from this information. And we thank you for taking the time to read this.

What Is It?: Remembrance Day is held on the 11th November and is there to honour those who have died in the line of duty. It is an important day of reflection for many countries around the world, uniting a wide range of cultures and faiths, to remember those who have lost their lives in war and mark the sacrifice they made – and continue to make- so that we could enjoy the freedoms we have today. 

When Did It Start?: This sacred tradition of remembrance began on 11th November 1919 (Armistice Day) to mark the one year anniversary of the end of the First World War. Artificial poppies were first sold, in relation to the occasion, in 1921 to help raise money for ex-servicemen and their families. This proved so popular that, in 1922, a factory dedicated to the creation of poppies was built in Richmond. However, demand was so high that few managed to make it to Scotland. So, in 1926, a factory was established here in Edinburgh to produce poppies for the people of Scotland. 

What Happens?: In the weeks building up to Remembrance Day, Poppies are worn by many as a sign of respect. Then, on the second Sunday of November (Remembrance Sunday), church services and gatherings are held, with a national minute of silence at 11am to mark the signing of the armistice and the end of the First World War. This is televised in the UK and includes a remembrance service that is usually attended by military personnel, politicians, religious leaders, members of the royal family and others. This particular event is held at the Cenotaph in central London.

Why Poppies?: One of the most recognisable symbols of Remembrance Day is the red poppy. But why is this? The answer to this question lies in the landscape of the battlefields in Belgium and Northern France. This was also a point noted in the 1915 poem ‘Flander’s Fields’ by John McCrae. Despite all of the death and destruction that was going on, these flowers grew and blossomed into something beautiful. A show of hope that we should all embrace and cling onto.

Where & How?: Remembrance is marked across the nation, in every city, town, village and home. Here in Edinburgh, there will be the annual Armistice service on Princes Street Gardens East on 11th November. There will then, on Remembrance Sunday, at the Stone Of Remembrance at Edinburgh City Chambers. At 11am, be wreaths placed by members of Scottish parliament, UK government, the Lord Provost and the armed forces to pay respect to the fallen. 

If you still haven’t got yourself a poppy and would like to get one and show your support, there are plenty of spots around Edinburgh where you can make a purchase and wear your poppy with pride.

In any case, we here at Belvoir Edinburgh hope you are all happy, healthy and well.

Have a peaceful weekend.