current affairs

Is there a new meaning for Remembrance Day?

Poppies are very delicate flowers. The petals on them ever so silky which could rip very easily if desired.

Poppies are very delicate flowers. The petals on them ever so silky which could rip very easily if desired. Much like the real things, the ‘fake’ poppies that are worn during the time of Remembrance Day seem to be very delicate too; falling off at every opportunity from the shirt it was so carefully pinned on.

To really understand the meaning of Remembrance Day, one would have to have experienced the relief of the people when the Armistice was signed all those years ago. So by that definition, Remembrance Day could simply not have the same meaning over time.

At the time, Remembrance Day was a day for all Commonwealth nations who took part in the First World War to commemorate the people who fought for their respective causes and remember the fallen.  To a certain extent, many of the traditional ceremonies that take place have not really changed over time and are still intended to commemorate the fallen of the First World War. However, as time went on and as the Second World War ended, Remembrance Day seemed a good way to collectively honour both sets of soldiers who fought in the respective wars.

A Fashion Symbol?

If wearing poppies is a barometer of whether people have started caring less, then the fact that the Poppy Appeal raising less than £3 million short of its target would suggest that people don’t care as much anymore. Some of it might be down to people getting less interested in the cause as it seemed to become very commercial in the way it was marketed.

Intrinsically it isn’t commercial of course, however the fact they were getting ‘sold’ may have disillusioned people as to what they really represent. Another important issue is the requirement of all celebrities, politicians and public figures to wear poppies when being presented or presenting to the public. The fact that it is a requirement not a choice for people like Bruce Forsyth or Ant and Dec to wear a poppy, makes said act seem insincere, which in turn makes people feel like Remembrance Day is more of an insincere obligation rather than a genuine commemoration.

It seems the Poppy has a significant commercial interest which one could imagine, PA’s and marketing executives feel is a gold mine to exploit. It seems that Remembrance Day more contemporarily is a time of year where corporations feel they can use the image of the Poppy to seem more appealing to potential customers. Why not buy a box of chocolates that has a poppy on it showing support to war victims over a box of chocolates that don’t?


After the recent up rise domestically about immigration, the sentiment of Remembrance Day has also become a more national and patriotic commemoration. Wearing a poppy, to some, seemed to have a lingering undertone of ‘being British’ and not forgetting our culture to defy the hordes of evil migrants coming over to England to rip out the soul of the nation. I myself have been questioned over my choice of wearing a poppy because ‘I’m not even English’. This meaning of Remembrance Day is obviously quite distorted as the poppy represents the blood of humanity not just the British.

However, there are also a great deal of people participating in Remembrance day, as way to celebrate and pay homage to the soldiers currently fighting not  only in Afghanistan or Iraq, but the ones fighting all over the world for any fair and just cause.

Remembrance Day is a lot more powerful and current if it is used not only to remember the fallen but to stand in solidarity against any forms of war happening now. The idea of ‘Lest we forget’ is that if the horrifying acts of before are repeated like they currently are being, people haven’t learnt as it is happening all over again. There is little point in remembering the dead soldiers if the actual reason they died hasn’t been addressed.

The war now is not too different to the war in 1918 or 1943. Just because food is not being rationed or children aren’t being sent to evacuation homes doesn’t make the act of a passenger taking his shoe off at an airport any less significant. Human rights are being restricted more and more, innocent people are dying with unnecessary drone attacks and governments continue to wage war yet they stand vowing not to forget.

Remembrance Day is an incredible way to remember the heroes of before but it would be so much more relevant if its ever evolving meaning changed towards learning from the mistakes of the past.

‘Freedom is as delicate as the petals of a poppy and can be ripped away just as easily.’ 

The meaning of Remembrance Day has changed but it needs to change to something bigger.  Soldiers fought then so soldiers wouldn’t have to fight now and that should never be forgotten. Remembrance Day can be very relevant.

So on the 11th of November every year, people should stand still and remember; a show of solidarity, remembrance and compassion for the forefathers who fought then. And then spend the rest of the year fighting never to go back there again, for the brothers and sisters dying in war right now.

Lest we forget – it will come around again.

Pic: danigeza