"Poppy Day" is a time to remember not only those who died in the two World Wars, but also more recent conflicts and those who still suffer the effects of war.
Outline script This Sunday, many people will wear a poppy as a sign of remembrance. The money from the poppy sales helps those who were wounded in war and their families. In churches and even in places like supermarkets people will keep silent for two minutes at 11am as a sign of respect. (Some will observe the silence on the recently reintroduced Armistice Day, which marked the end of the First World War, at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month.) Many poppies grew in the fields where much of the fighting in the First World War took place. A Canadian doctor, John McCrae, was caring for wounded soldiers; he wrote a poem, which begins: "In Flanders' fields the poppies blowBetween the crosses, row on row." After the war, in 1921, imitation poppies were first sold in Britain to help children in areas that had suffered from the fighting. Later, poppies were sold by the British Legion, to help disabled ex-servicemen and their families.
Nowadays, the poppies are made at the British Legion's Poppy Factory at Richmond, Surrey. A team of 60 people, most of them disabled, work all year to make more than 34million poppies, 5 million remembrance petals, 750,000 remembrance crosses and nearly 100,000 wreaths, including those laid at the Cenotaph in London.
A young person was once talking to an old soldier. Hoping to please the old man, he said: "I suppose the poppies are to remember the soldiers who gave up their lives in the fighting." The old soldier snapped back: "Rubbish.
Nobody gave up anything. Their lives were taken in the crudest possible manner. That's what you shouldn't forget."
Follow-up l The Royal British Legion School's Pack 20056 is useful for Year 2 pupils studying History Unit 17, "What are we remembering on Remembrance Day?", and for citizenship lessons at key stages 34. It can be downloaded or ordered in print or by email from www.britishlegion.org.ukschools.asp * The story of the poppy and poppy factory is at www.poppy.org.uk * The text of Wilfred Owen's war poems (many of which could form part of an assembly) can be accessed at www.hcu.ox.ac.ukjtapwarpoems.htm