Armistice Day, 100 years on from World War One

November 13, 2018

Reflecting on the commemorative services held on Remembrance Day 2018, will we remember in another 100 years?

Suzannah Rogerson and Rebecca Tee

wreaths made out of poppies laid on the memorial

Poppy wreaths laid out in Victoria Square, Leeds.

Why Remembrance Day is important…

On Sunday 11th November 2018, the country fell silent at 11am for two minutes. This was to mark the end of World War One 100 years ago.This act of silence is to remember the fallen servicemen and women, who gave their lives for our country in the First World War and other acts of war since. Across the country and the globe there were events to reflect on the end of the war.

Remembrance Day Parade

Service men and women marching through Leeds City Centre

On the day…

In Leeds there were several services of commemoration on Sunday. One was the Civic Observance which took place in Victoria Square surrounding the war memorial. There was a parade led by the the Salvation Army band and followed by regiments from all sections of the Armed Forces, cadet groups and families of the fallen. The service honoured many religions, hearing from leaders of several Leeds Churches. Accompanying the readings and poems read by the religious leaders was soprano Anna Prosser who sung a hymn and the national anthem. This well-attended service was a reminder that World War One and the wars to follow affect people from every city and town.

Remembrance Service in Leeds

Civic Observance of Remembrance Sunday. Leeds, 10.30am.

One member of the congregation was Kiera Wilson who said “This is right. We should all remember those who sacrificed their lives for ours”. Another attendee said “I’m just so happy I can show my daughter this so she always remembers to respect the ex-soldiers”.

The Reactions on Twitter…

This year the iconic symbol of Armistice, the red poppy, has caused high levels of heated debate on social media. Like many things these days, the poppy turned political. Some users thought that the poppy had turned into a symbol for white extremist type behaviour, while others believed that it did not reflect their ethnic background appropriately. The hashtag #wearapoppy trended widely on Twitter, with some people showing off their poppy badges with pride for their country, others explaining why they felt it was unnecessary for them to join in.

a tweet posted to twitter about not wanting to wear a poppy

Posted on Twitter in the anti poppy debate.

Will we still remember in another 100 years?

Elderly man in wheelchair in service uniform on Remembrance day 2018

Are the elderly veterans the only ones left to keep the memory of World War One alive?

The centenary since the end of World War One marks the different generations now taking on the role of remembering those who lost their lives. In another 100 years there will be no survivors left of the First World War so will the future generations continue their memories?

Two hundred years ago was the Napoleonic War. Lasting for twelve years, the war took an estimated 3-6m military and civilian lives. This war can now only be seen in history textbooks rather than commemorated each year like World War One.

This could be because World War One took a devastating number of around 37m casualties. Or is it because some of the servicemen are still alive and able to tell their stories. A war as monumental and worldwide as World War One is unlikely to be forgotten by the generations of this century but the next may not be as passionate.

A spokesperson for the Royal British Legion said “Around three-quarters of the population from all walks of life now observe the Two Minute Silence annually.” He went on to say “Remembrance Sunday is as relevant and poignant as ever 100 years after World War One”. The Royal British Legion are committed to reflecting on the sacrifices of service men and women from all wars.

Air cadets marching

Young Air Cadets taking part in a Remembrance Day Parade.

World War One will always be an era of significance but the likelihood of it being celebrated so widely may decrease as the years go on. Already after a century some people are against the act of wearing a poppy, after another century the sentiment may be lost.

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