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Remembrance Day 2020

Published On: November 11, 2020
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The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month signifies Germany’s truce in France in 1918 which ended the First World War. More than 60,000 Australians were killed in this war and each year at this time, Australians observe one minute’s silence in memory of the brave men and women who died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts, making a sacrifice which give us the freedom we enjoy today.

In a powerfully moving symbolic tribute this morning, the iconic Sydney Opera House sails were bathed in red poppies. These striking flowers have long been a part of rituals as they are among the first plants to spring up in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium. Some soldiers devasted by the loss believe that the vivid redness of the poppy came from the blood of their comrades soaking the ground, inspiring Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae to write the following poem.

In Flanders fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae (1872–1918)

Learn more about the history of silence as a sign of respect and reflection on Remembrance Day.

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