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domingo, 6 de novembro de 2011

Poppy Day

A.Y. Jackson(1882–1974). House of Ypres. 1917

"What to paint was a problem for the war artist. . . . The old heroics, the death and glory stuff, were gone for ever; The impressionist technique I had adopted in painting was now ineffective, for visual impressions were not enough." 

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae 1872-1918

As a colony of Great Britain, Canada was automatically at war. Almost totally unprepared for battle in 1914, Canada enrolled 625,000 military personnel by 1918. Most served in the Canadian Corps, which became one of the foremost fighting formations. The cost, however, was enormous: of the Canadians serving overseas, one in seven died.

The Canadian doctor John McCrae (1872-1918), who was fighting in the war, wrote a poem to honour his deceased comrade in arms. Soon after its publication the poem became very popular and the poppy became a symbol of Remembrance Day that is also known as Poppy Day, because it is traditional to wear an artificial poppy. In the United Kingdom poppies are sold by the Royal British Legion, a charity dedicated to helping war veterans.

Some of the battles of World War I took place in Flanders, which was located in the Western Front. There, many poppy fields existed.

Poppy Day or Remembrance Day commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that put an end to World War I, which started in 1914 and ended in 1918, causing 37 million casualties, among them more than ten thousand Portuguese soldiers.

The war ended exactly at 11 o’clock, on the 11th day in the 11th month (November) of 1918.

Prime Minister David Cameron and former prime ministers.

It is traditional to wear an artificial poppy on this day

The Cenotaph in Whitehall, London is the United Kingdom's primary national war memorial. It was built in 1920 by the British architect Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens. It is the site of the annual National Service of Remembrance held at 11:00 am on Remembrance Sunday, the closest Sunday to 11 November.

Ceremonies are held at war memorials and two minutes of silence are observed just after 11 o´clock. The start and end of the silence is often marked by the firing of a cannon. Following this, "Last Post" and “The Rouse” are sounded after which wreaths are laid by the Queen and senior members of the Royal Family attending in military uniform. Other members of the Royal Family usually watch the service from the balcony of the Foreign Office.

After the Funeral March the politicians lay their wreaths. The Queen leaves after the national anthem is sung by all those attending the ceremony. 


It is an interesting coincidence that this year Poppy Day is on a lucky date with a symmetrical number. This will only happen again in one hundred years.

World War I – known at the time as The Great War - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on November 11, 1918.

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day, but in 1954, after World War II President Eisenhower changed the name "Armistice Day" to Veterans Day.

In the USA Veterans Day is an important holiday and many marches take place in order to honour the veterans of all wars (a veteran is a soldier who has fought in a war), including World War II (1939-45), the Korean War (1950-53), the Vietnam War (1965-1975), the First Gulf War (1991), the Iraq War (2003-2010) and the war in Afghanistan (2001- present).

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