Catholic Diocese Jersey

Thought of the week


On Remembrance Sunday what or who are we remembering? Why today?  Why do people wear red poppies? In our fast moving times, filled with distraction, lessons from the past can be quickly forgotten. Whether it is yesterday, last week, last month or year, or even a century or centuries ago, important events that teach invaluable lessons can be lost in the rush to the future.  Learning from history is vital if we are not to keep making the same mistakes time and again.

Remembrance Sunday is kept on the second Sunday of November and is associated with the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month 1918 when the documents were signed bringing the brutality of the First World War to an end. First called ‘Armistice Day’, it was instigated to remember those that died during this war, a war said to end all wars. Tragically barely twenty years later the world was at war again. Armistice Day became Remembrance Sunday and the remembering of war dead encompassed not only the two world wars but other conflicts since.

The red poppy worn at this time is to help us remember those who lost their lives in conflicts down the years to preserve our peace and to protect us from evil. The battlefields of the First World War were desolate places of death and destruction, but a delicate and resilient flower, the poppy, managed to grow amongst the chaos. The poppies growing in the battle-scarred fields of Ypres inspired a soldier, Lt Colonel John McCrae, to write the war poem, ‘In Flanders Fields’.

The poppy is not a symbol of death or a glorification of war, it is not political or religious and it is not red to symbolise blood. It is a symbol of hope to remember and honour those who lost their lives to secure and protect the freedom of others. It is red because of the natural colours of the poppies that grew over the battlefields.

Lest we forget.

Deacon Brendan