- Posts: 2014
- Joined: 07 Apr 2002 14:44
- Location: United Kingdom: The Land of Hope and Glory
Here is a view from an American who live here in Britian.
In every village and town in Britain there is a memorial. In some towns there is a stone column or a stone soldier that stands quietly on High Street as shoppers pass. In others, the memorial is at the edge of a cemetery or a quiet park, where flowers appear on a day that is meaningful only to the unknown person who left them. In Scotland, kilted soldiers of the Highland Regiments stand eternal watch over the lochs and mountains.
In our village, Birstwith, there are two identical brass plaques; one in the church and the other in the large classroom of the three room schoolhouse. In the early years of this century there were barely two hundred people in the village. The plaque lists the names of nine men from the village who died from 1914 to 1918. The loss of those nine men would have devastated such a small close-knit farm community, but Birstwith, though smaller than most, is only typical.
In the opening days of the First World War, the British government appealed to the local communities to recruit units for the war effort. Lord Derby of Liverpool called them a “battalion of pals” and the name stuck. Battalions came from public school, sports associations, and social clubs. In the City in London, 1,600 men joined the “Stockbroker’s Battalion.” By June 1916, local towns raised 643 of these “Pals Battalions” compared to the 341 that raised by the War Office.
In September 1914, the mayor of Accrington raised a battalion of 1,000 men. After completing their training, the “Accrington Pals” went to France as the 11th Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment. On July 1, 1916 at 7:30 in the morning, the Accrington Pals stepped off in an attack on Germans lines near the village of Serre. By the end of the day, 584 of the 720 Pals in the attack were dead. They were a small part of the 20,000 Commonwealth soldiers who died on the first day of what would be known as the Battle of the Somme.
It is eighty years after the war ended on 11 November 1918 but from the first of November, red poppies appear everywhere in Britain. The small red paper flowers, worn on the lapel, are manufactured by the Royal British Legion and sold only for voluntary donations. The drive raises nearly twenty millions pounds each year.
At 11:00 on the 11th of November, the date and time of the Armistice, Britain stops for two minutes. Broadcasters stop their normal programming. Busses stop by the side of the road. Stores dim their lights and halt sales. In offices and schools people stop for two minutes to pay tribute and remember.
The Sunday following is officially Remembrance Sunday, and at war memorials around the country people gather. In some towns I understand, as few as two or three people will gather. In London there will be more than 10,000. In Harrogate, a town of 100,000 in Yorkshire, Barbara, the children and I joined several hundred people at the war memorial. When we arrived a few minutes before 11:00, units from all the British services, the Sea, Air and Army Cadets, the Boy Scouts and a small contingent from the local US Army base had formed the traditional hollow square around the war memorial.
I have been to more Veterans Days events in the States than I could count. I’ve marched in many parades and while in the Army was treated to many drinks at local VFW events. In the States Veterans Day usually involves noisy parades or barbecues and as with all holidays it is an occasion to get the best deal you can imagine on a television, a dish washer, or any other appliance or furnishing you may want..
In Harrogate on Remembrance Sunday there were no celebrations, no floats, no banners. Only people gathering quietly, who for a short while forgot their class distinctions. Every age and social stratum was represented equally and joined in remembering the hundreds of names etched on the base of the town monument. A young man with a leather jacket, spiked hair, a nose ring and a poppy stood quietly by an old man in a black beret and blue blazer with two rows of medals on his lapel. Women in furs stood next to men with half dried mud on their boots, pants and hands. The tweeds of the country gentry mingled with the denims of the counsel estates.
In Harrogate as around much of the country many noted that this was the last Remembrance Day of the millennium. The century had opened with the Anglo-Boer War in South Africa and ended with the death of two Ghurkas Rifles in Kosovo. With the exception of one year, British soldiers have been killed in combat every year since the end of World War II. In all one and a half million British and Commonwealth soldiers died fighting Britain’s wars this century.
And at 11:00 on Remembrance Sunday, Britain again stopped for two minutes and around the nation, when the two minutes ended, three simple lines were repeated:
They will not grow old, as we who are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them or the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we shall remember them
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- Posts: 4517
- Joined: 11 Mar 2002 22:26
- Location: Stavanger, Norway
I`ve noticed that there is a little memorial at each place where British soldiers were killed, even up in the mountains here!
This is for the 5500 Norwegian sailors killed in ww1 & ww2
And for Norwegian SS volunteers:
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- Posts: 1635
- Joined: 21 May 2002 12:18
- Location: Australia (usually)
It commemorates all veterans of all wars.
There is a march in most cities and towns. The marches in the major cities are huge with streets closed off and veterans marching through the streets.
ANZAC day is almost a religious day here. It starts with a dawn religious ceremony and concludes with marches that last hours.
Veterans from WW1, WW2, Korea, Malaya, Borneo, Vietnam and other smaller conflicts are honoured.
The few surviving WW1 veterans have a god like status in Australia.
We have memorials everywhere and veterans are treated with respect by young and old alike.
- Posts: 4209
- Joined: 24 Jun 2002 11:46
- Location: Suomi - Finland
1.) on 27.4. (varies) was the National Day of the Veterans
2.) on 19.5. (varies) was the Remembrance Day of the Fallen (Soldiers) which is a religious one
3.) on 4.6. is (literally) the "Flag Celebration Day" of the Finnish Defence Forces (the day Marshal of Finland C. G. E. Mannerheim was born)
4.) on 6.12. is our Independence Day
We do have lots of minor memorials all around the country. Many graveyards in Finland have large areas of graves of the buried soldiers. Perhaps the most famous one is the grave of the Marshal of Finland C. G. E. Mannerheim at Helsinki.
- Posts: 63
- Joined: 02 Aug 2002 17:13
- Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Two minutes of silence, and a the playing of The Last Post on a bugle is observed by the nation on the 11th hour, of the 11 day, of the 11th month of the year. The exact time The Great War came to an end. Perhaps one of the most senseless and brutal wars ever fought. Remembrance Day is for all wars fought by Canada.
I belive most of our Commonwelath allies observe this solemn day. I know for a fact Britain does.
The military and cadets hold special parades of remembrance, gathered at memorial cenotaphs across the country. The people wear red poppies to show their gratitude.
The red poppies originated from a poem written by a Canadian officer fighting in France in 1915. In Flanders Fields. The poem is now on the back of the new $10 bills.
Remembrance Day is generally taken very seriously,as it is the only official day of remembrance.