The Eleventh Hour: Five tips to ensure two-minutes of silence

Remembrance DayFor me, the phrase ‘the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month’ has always held great power and significance. It represents not only history – the end of the Great War, the First World War, the ‘war to end all wars’ – but also the moment in modern life when we are meant to stop, reflect and remember.

However, I have noticed that in my lifetime (and I’m not that old) many people have ‘stopped stopping’ for those two minutes, they don’t always take the time for this small observance; instead they plough through, ignoring it, or simply forgetting to pause.  Not only are they themselves missing an opportunity to stop and reflect, but they are often actively intruding on those who do want to mark that time with silence.

In our constant modern rush we very rarely stop, let alone in silence and stillness. I truly believe that we owe it not only to history but to the future, to pause and reflect for those two minutes – perhaps more now than ever.

The power of the two-minute silence is that it is based in humanity. It is time to reflect on what we owe all the men and women, past and present, who have helped shape our countries both in times of war and times of peace.  They lived through events we can never imagine and hope never to experience; recognizing this and showing our gratitude is the least we can do.

Here are five ways to ensure you not only stop for those few minutes but also help encourage others to do the same. These apply whether the 11th falls on a weekday or weekend. 

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Symbols & Remembrance: Wearing Your Poppy

I’m a firm believer in both buying and wearing a poppy.

The sale of poppies in Commonwealth countries not only supports the vital work of the Legions in those countries (Royal Canadian Legion, Royal British Legion among others) but also serves as an Poppiesimportant physical reminder of past wars and conflicts.

Remembering and marking (not celebrating) these events is as important now as it was when poppies were first introduced as a symbol of remembrance in 1921.

When should I wear my poppy?

I’ve been asked whether it’s acceptable to wear a poppy year-round.  While it’s a nice thought to show support throughout the year, the impact of the symbol starts to wane over time, so it’s best to restrict it to a few weeks a year.

Some people like to wait until after Hallowe’en, however, poppies traditionally go on sale on the last weekend in October, so anytime from then through November 11th is appropriate.

Note that in the United Kingdom the observance of ‘Remembrance Sunday’ sometimes takes place on the Sunday after November 11th (as is the case this year), therefore you may wish to keep your poppy on through to the end of that day.

Where do I wear my poppy?

There are many people who feel strongly about this. Left side, right side? On a cap or hat, or not?

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Symbols & Remembrance: Wearing your Poppy

Today marks the day that our poppies go on sale and I’m a firm believer in both buying and wearing a poppy. The sale of poppies not only supports the vital work of the Royal Canadian Legion but also serves as an Royal Canadian Legion Volunteersimportant physical reminder of past wars and conflicts. Remembering and marking (not celebrating) these events is as important now as it was when they first came into being in 1921.

I try to buy my poppy from the Legion volunteers who set up their tables in and around the town because I enjoy chatting with them and showing my support. Today I had the enormous pleasure of meeting these two lovely volunteers, Marleine Levin and her mum, Eva Kay.  I was doubly-pleased to discover that they are two strong Scots women originally from Glasgow (my Nanny’s birthplace). Marleine kindly offered to pin my poppy on so that it would be secure.

Wondering how to wear your poppy?

In late October and early November the inevitable questions arise: when and how to wear your poppy?

When should I wear my poppy?

The practical answer about ‘when’ is that, in Canada, the Royal Canadian Legion poppies officially go on sale on the last Friday of October (today), so that generally dictates timing, unless you have one leftover from previous years. No matter when you start wearing your poppy, it should be worn through November 11th then tucked away for next year.

I’ve been asked whether it’s acceptable to wear a poppy year-round.  While it’s a nice thought to show support throughout the year, the impact of the symbol starts to wane over time, so it’s best to restrict it to a few weeks a year.

Where do I wear my poppy?

There are many people who feel strongly about this. Left side, right side? On a cap or hat, or not?

Read moreSymbols & Remembrance: Wearing your Poppy

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