Saturday, 7 November 2009

Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance Sunday

Cherish me not with regretful thought.
Of what might have been for you and me.
Remember me not with tears and sighs,
Like the poppies, I did not die.
My body bled a blood as red as any poppy that ever grew,
And from this mortal shell a soul was shed,
And on your loving thoughts it fed,
And bloomed again, as poppies will
Upon that field, where so much blood was spilled.
Remember me with love and joy,
For I am but still the boy you knew.
I lie not unknown, where the poppies grew,
I live now, even as you.

       Elizabeth Anderson 1927 - 2001

                                                        © Elizabeth Anderson 1958

With genuine thanks to Bill and Grahame Anderson, husband and son of Betty, from the website dedicated to her Memory, Betty's Poetry.

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Armistice was signed, signalling an end to the Great War.

In the UK, on the second Sunday of each November at 11 O’clock, a two-minute silence is observed nationwide in remembrance of those who died in both the world wars of the Twentieth Century and many other conflicts besides. In 2009, with British soldiers dying weekly in Afghanistan, in particular, it seems that this tradition is set to continue and re-strengthen.

Elizabeth Anderson wrote underneath the original copy of this powerful poem, “Inspirational during the 2 minutes silence. Written immediately afterwards.”

A red poppy is worn as a symbol of this remembrance.

Do you wear a poppy? Do you observe the two minute silence? Maybe you attend a local Remembrance Service? Have you ever been to the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday? What was the atmosphere like and how did you feel? Why do you wear a poppy: do you agree with Government policy or are you merely showing solidarity with our soldiers? Are you anti-war? Do you shun the commemorations altogether? Perhaps you choose to remember in your own way, by lighting a white candle for peace, say? Do you give it any thought at all?

What do you think about the deployment of troops in the Middle East? Maybe you have friends or family in the Armed Forces? Perhaps you know someone who has fought in overseas wars or is still fighting? Are you in active service yourself? Do you have any stories of your own about being at war/living in a war zone either as a soldier or as his/her loved one?

What does Betty’s poem evoke in you?

Royal British Legion Website


  1. If I'm honest, I try not to think about any of it too much - the waste of human life is simply too much to bear.

    I do wear the poppy and I do observe the silences - not to celebrate heroism, but to honour the people who have to live on without their sons/brothers/husbands/fathers.

    The dead are dead, it is the living who suffer the effects of death.

  2. i went past the centotaph at about 10.30 this morning. I thought immediately of my grandfather.
    He tried to get to Spain in 36 to fight for the Republicans. He was only 15 so they wouldn't let him make the journey because he was underage.
    Such courage and conviction.
    Then he fought in the 2nd world war and had a breakdown. War was awful for him.
    I remembered him at 11am and at the same time I thought of those that give their lives today. I wonder if it is the same vain.
    If he were alive today he would not support the wars that we are involved in.
    What do they mean?

  3. My relationship with war has never been firsthand. Vietnam did not touch our family growing up; no one I knew when to WWII or Korea. My childhood, though raised in the Navy, was never filled with war talk, or even weaponry. The only aspect close to war, as a result of the Cuban Missile Crisis, were the suitcases by our door in Guantanamo for the drills where we would practice running to quanzit huts buried in the mountain.

    As I became an adult, I spent my time protesting detente via Reagan & generally drifted left of politics. Sadly, early on, I admit that I did not become empathetic to the plight of soldiers and their families until I had my own. During the Kuwait war, as I held my first child, my heart leaped for everyone involved, truly feeling empathy for the parents who watch their children go to war.

    I've evolved to support the soldier, hate the war. I have sent boxes, and signed petitions for better armor and more protection for the people who are there, but I have also been absolute in my disdain for the politics of war. I have wept for soldiers gone. I have spiritually reached out to mothers and fathers who are torn.

    I think, if I were in the U.K., I would wear a poppy.

  4. I had to have a good think about this one. I think it is unfortunate that the remembrance of brave soldiers who have died for us and our country, or have been injured in the same way; is inexorably linked to wars - past and recently current. In the same way as most people fully support our soldiers in Afghanistan and other war torn areas of the world, but do not support the reasons behind the war itself, I honour the dead and injured, and I am so thankfull that they have the courage to do what they do (something I couldn't willingly do), but I still find any kind of conflict pointless.
    As I write this, tomorrow actually marks the anniversary of the guns falling silent and honestly I will try and be silent at 11am - it is a sad fact that, unless I am watching the TV or listening to the radio, I will forget and will carry on with the now, along with the majority of people, but when I remember I will think of the soldiers' sacrifice and honour them in my own way.
    I am afraid it is still very much a case of "Forward he cried, from the rear, and the front rank died..." to quote Pink Floyd.

  5. I have to wonder if all the fighting and war was really worth it sometimes, as long as man is alive there will always be war. They say the pen is mightier than the sword, if this was the case, then surely the politicians would be thrashing out treaties to stop war before it happens? Instead we have to read history about wars written in History books and then dramatised in film!. There is nothing glorious about war or fighting and it should not be recorded as such in my opinion. It is those left behind any battle that suffer, not the dead who fought and lost their fight. The rest of us continue to fight for what is just until we pass too.

  6. "When the power of love overcome the love of power, the world will know peace" (Jimi Hendrix)

    War is a waste of human lives and a source of sorrow and pain. Nothing worth it.

    People who live in the war area, soldiers of both sides of the conflict and their families are the main victims of this shameful journey towards inhumanity and cruelty.

    We are the secondary victims, as powerless witnesses of this kind of slauther. We have to live with the fault of our tacit consent of this new holocaust.

  7. Thank you all so much for your comments.

    They speak for themselves x

  8. I was lucky enough as a child to attend the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, as part of the Scout movement. Even at a young age it was easy to see the pride and emotion on the old soldiers faces. It is something I have carried with me, and I just hope I can instil the same feelings in my own kids. Lest we forget.