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  • Penelope Becker de Miranda

Remembrance Day in the UK

11 days ago, we celebrated Remembrance Day, also known as Poppy Day. On the 11th of November, there are two minutes of silence at exactly 11am. These few minutes are dedicated to remembering all the soldiers who fought in the First and Second World Wars, who fought for their King and Country and for the pride of their land. The two minutes of silence was first introduced by King George V of England, who was the great-grandfather of our present ruler, and has been part of the ceremony ever since. One of the traditions since 1921 is to wear a red poppy, symbolizing the passing and bloodshed of many soldiers. The red symbolizes hope, and the bouquets made from paper poppies scattered around London represent the eternity of life and the sacrifices made for this country. All the money made from selling these famous flowers goes to the British Legion, which is the biggest fundraising campaign. The poppies are also purchasable from the Poppy Shop or the Poppy Factory close to Richmond Hill. The Poppy Factory in Richmond is visitable throughout the year, where you can make your own poppies and learn more about the history of this day. If you are lucky, you can also speak to veterans who have fought in wars in this present day.

Many manors in the war were used as hospitals and still remain hospitals to this day. There is a very grand mansion close to the Poppy Factory, The Star and Garter to be precise. If you didn’t know the history of this place, you probably wouldn’t suspect that it used to be a military hospital for the severely disabled and injured sailors and soldiers, as well as for veterans who suffered gravely from mental illnesses during or after the wars. It was founded as a hospital in January 1916 by The British Red Cross Society and remained a hospital to accommodate injured soldiers coming from the war until very recently, when the property was sold in 2014. Many heroes of the world wars stayed in this mansion and rested, while their wounds healed. A well-known woman, nicknamed by the Nazis “The White Mouse,” also lived here for a longer time. Her name was Nancy Wake. She lived there for several years, smuggling captured veterans out of France back to England. She was a very brave woman and had dealt with a lot by the end of the war. She was a type of spy and helped the British Empire after she luckily escaped to England after her husband was executed by the Nazis. Queen Mary (King George’s V wife) was one of the Patrons of the Red Cross Society and encouraged them to improve the living conditions for the wounded soldiers in their new living conditions.

In conclusion, we celebrate this day in honor of anyone who took part in the war, from the soldiers to the women of the house, the nurses, and to anyone who lost someone important during this dreadful time.

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