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Flower Power: Poppy Day

For use with Talking Point worksheets

Moderator: TalkingPoint

Flower Power: Poppy Day

Postby TalkingPoint » Tue Dec 14, 2010 12:43 pm

What is Poppy Day?
Poppy Day is also known as Remembrance Day, Armistice Day or Veterans Day. It is the day when many countries commemorate all the members of the armed forces who have given their lives in the line of duty since the First World War. In the UK a ceremony is held on Remembrance Sunday in London at a war memorial called the Cenotaph. Commemorative wreaths of poppies are laid at the monument by important figures such as members of the Royal Family and the Prime Minister. Veterans of all major conflicts attend the ceremony and until 2008 even a few surviving veterans of the First World War itself attended too. When Big Ben strikes eleven o’clock cannons are fired and a silence of two minutes is observed as a mark of respect.

Why is it on 11th Nov?
The 11th November was chosen as Remembrance Day because the First World War officially came to an end on that day in 1918 - the Armistice was signed at 11 o’clock on the 11th day of the 11th month of the year. Some countries (such as Australia and New Zealand) also observe ANZAC day on the 25th April to commemorate members of the Australian and New Zealand armed forces in particular. Commemorative ceremonies for the dead often take place on Remembrance Sunday which is on the Sunday nearest to the 11th November.

What is a poppy?
A poppy is a wild flower which is usually red, though other colours occur naturally too. Some members of the poppy family are cultivated for the production of opium. The poppies worn on Poppy Day in the UK are artificial and are usually made of two paper petals with a black plastic centre. Sold by the Royal British Legion, an organisation for those who have served in the armed forces. the poppies do not cost anything though wearers are invited to give a donation.

Why were poppies chosen?
The poppy became recognised as the emblem of Remembrance Day as a result of a poem called "In Flanders' Fields" by John McCrae. Flanders is a region in northern Europe which saw some of the bloodiest fighting of the First World War. When the scarlet poppies started flowering across the battlefields their blood-red colour quickly became symbolic of the bloodshed that had occurred there.

How important is Poppy Day?
In some countries, such as France, it is a national holiday. In America the 11th November is called Veterans Day and is a national holiday. Religious services on Remembrance Sunday in Britain often include a period of silence in memory of the fallen and many companies encourage their staff to observe a short silence on 11th November at 11 o’clock.

Quick Quiz: Read the clues below and write the solutions on a piece of paper. Then take the first letter of each answer and rearrange them to find the hidden word connected with this Talking Point.

1. Poppy Day is the day when many countries commemorate all the members of the armed forces who have given their lives in the __________ of duty since the First World War.

2. Veterans of all major conflicts attend the ceremony and until 2008 even a few __________ veterans of the First World War itself attended too.

3. The 11th November was chosen as Remembrance Day because the First World War __________ came to an end on that day in 1918.

4. Some __________ of the poppy family are cultivated for the production of opium.

5. The poppies worn on Poppy Day in the UK are artificial and are usually made of two paper petals with a __________ plastic centre.

6. Sold by the Royal British Legion, an organisation for those who have __________ in the armed forces. the poppies do not cost anything though wearers are invited to give a donation.

7. When the scarlet poppies started flowering across the battlefields their blood-red colour quickly became symbolic of the bloodshed that had __________ there.
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