Remembrance Day: Why do we teach about it?
Why is Remembrance Day still taught in schools? What value does it hold with our young people? If you are looking for an answer to the question of why Remembrance Day is still so important in schools, you really need to look no further than the Royal British Legion’s website:
“Remembrance honours those who serve to defend our democratic freedoms and way of life.”
You couldn’t ask for a clearer explanation of what remembrance is all about – or for a better reason for its continued importance.
Having said that, it’s still worth drilling down a little bit on the topic to consider its importance and its intentions.
Again, the Royal British Legion really say it all on their website, explaining that:
“Remembrance does not glorify war and its symbol, the red poppy, is a sign of both Remembrance and hope for a peaceful future.”
The Poppy And Remembrance Day
It’s worth pointing out that there is no right or wrong way of showing remembrance. The poppy was never meant to be compulsory. Sure, wearing one will always be greatly appreciated by those it is intended to support. But if people feel compelled or forced to wear one it devalues what it is meant to stand for: remembering those who fought for freedom – the freedom of choice and free speech.
Remembrance is intended to unite people of all faiths and cultures. This is another reason why it is so important that schools continue to mark the day.
It was originally intended as a way to remember the sacrifice and service of the Armed Forces in the UK and across the Commonwealth, but it also serves as a timely reminder of the horrors of all wars. That’s a message that cannot be stressed enough in schools.
The Royal British Legion are clear in their message. We should also look to remember all the innocent civilians who have lost their lives in conflict.
It’s never about taking sides. It’s about highlighting that, ultimately, there are no winners in war.
Of course, the wearing of the poppy and Remembrance Sunday has evolved over the years. Originally introduced as a way to remember those who lost their lives in World War One, its scope has grown as the years go by.
Each year, the Royal British Legion announces a particular focus. For 2023, it is remembering and honouring ‘Service’.
We are reminded this year that for those who serve usually do so at a cost. It isn’t just the cost of lives but also the physical or emotional trauma, and upheaval and separation from families and loved ones.
Anniversaries are always remembered. In 2023, it is the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War; 60 years since the last serviceman was demobbed from National Service, and the 75th anniversary of the arrival in the UK of settlers from the Caribbean on the Empire Windrush. It is important to recognise the part they played in rebuilding Britain post-World War Two.
Tradition And Recent Events
The traditions of Remembrance: the wearing of the poppy; the two minutes’ silence; and the playing of ‘The Last Post’ remain largely the same after all these years. However, in recent years, several events have been introduced to make Remembrance more interactive for schools.
A great example of this is the Remembrance Live Assembly. This live streamed experience takes place this year on Friday 10 November. It brings together art, poetry and music in an interactive event aimed at students in Years 5-8.