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By: sandiquiz, 4:27 PM GMT on October 30, 2013
During the First World War, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare. In many parts of the world, people observe a two minutes' silence at 11am on 11th November.
Sunday, 10th November,will be Remembrance Sunday in the UK. Each year, the Sunday nearest to the 11th of November is designated Remembrance Sunday, when we remember the men and women who gave their lives in the two World Wars and subsequent conflicts.
In the two weeks leading up to the 11th, The British Legion sell poppies. Millions around the country wear them with pride. Every BBC news reader, weather person or broadcaster on TV during those two weeks will be seen to be wearing a poppy, as will every Politician.
History of the Poppy Appeal
The first official British Legion Poppy Day was held in Britain on 11 November 1921, inspired by the poem "In Flanders' Fields" written by John McCrae. Since then, the Poppy Appeal has been a key annual event in the nation's calendar.
The Flanders Poppy was first described as the "Flower of Remembrance" by Colonel John McCrae who, before the First World War, was a well-known Professor of Medicine at McGill University in Montreal.
He had previously served as a gunner in the South African War, and at the outbreak of the First World War decided to join the fighting ranks. However, the powers-that-be decided that his abilities could be used to better advantage, and so he landed in France as a Medical Officer with the first Canadian Army contingent.
At the second battle of Ypres in 1915, when in charge of a small first-aid post, and during a lull in the action, he wrote, in pencil, on a page torn from his despatch book, the following verses -
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.
The first Poppy Appeal in 1921 raised £106,000.
By 1978 the Appeal had reached over £3.5 million annually.
Last year, 2012 the Poppy Appeal reached £35,800,000
It takes 350,000 volunteers and staff to organise the Poppy Appeal each year.
More than 40 million Remembrance poppies, 500,000 poppies of other types, 5 million Remembrance petals, 100,000 wreaths and spray and over 750,000 Remembrance Crosses are produced.
All the money raised goes to support welfare work for the Armed Forces community.
In other places around the world, 11th November is also known as Armistice Day, Remembrance Day or Poppy Day.
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MILTON KEYNES City Centre
Updated: 11:05 AM GMT on November 11, 2013
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