Many people in the UK wear poppies as a symbol of remembrance for the victims of war, especially the fallen soldiers of both world wars.
In the weeks before the 11th November, poppies (small paper flowers) are sold in shops, shopping centres, stations and other public places.
People take a poppy and give a donation. The money goes to charities like the Royal British Legion, who support war veterans.
People wear poppies on their clothes. Larger poppies can also be seen on buildings and cars.
The poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ was written by the Canadian Lieutenant John McCrae. In the poem, the poppy is a reminder of the blood that was shed by the soldiers.
On Remembrance Sunday (the second Sunday in November) poppy wreaths and wooden crosses are laid at cenotaphs all over the country.
At 11 o’clock, two minutes silence is held. The eleventh day of the eleventh month is Armistice Day, the day of the cessation of hostilities. On this day at 11 o’clock, people also observe two minutes silence.
In 2014 thousands of ceramic poppies were placed at the Tower of London. The artwork was taken to other places including St George’s Hall in Liverpool.
The poppy is recognised everywhere and is worn by many people, including famous personalities.
There are controversies, however. Pacifists don’t want to wear the red poppy. For them, the red poppy is a symbol of militarisation. They prefer a white poppy.
Some organisations – for instance FIFA – have banned the wearing of poppies as they see it as a political statement. Footballers and fans have protested against this.
Whether red or white, there’s no doubt that the poppy will continue to exist as a symbol of remembrance of war and conflict.
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