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Why do we wear poppies on Remembrance Sunday – The meaning behind the symbol

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On Remembrance Sunday, the country comes together to remember those in the Armed Forces who gave their lives.

The Royal Family come together, MPs put aside their own tensions and veterans who served are celebrated.

The Queen was spotted observing the London service, having donned all five of her poppies, but what does the red flower represent and why did the poppy become the symbol of remembrance?

Why do we wear poppies?

Poppies are worn to remember those who served in the British and Commonwealth Armed Forces, as well as civilian casualties of conflict.

The poppy was chosen as the symbol of Remembrance because poppy flowers grew on the battlefields after the end of the First World War.

A poem widely shared around Remembrance Day, In Flanders Fields, helped create the legacy of the poppy as an important symbol of sacrifice and duty.

The poem reads:

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.

The poppy was first sold back in 1921, after the Royal British Legion was founded.

Selling silk poppies that year, the Legion raised an impressive £106,000 for those affected by the war.

Where does the Poppy appeal money go?

It’s important to buy your poppy from the Royal British Legion as the profits go towards aiding the Armed Forces community.

The money is used in regional Legion Branches across the country. The organisation is responsible for helping veterans and servicemen and women in need.

The money has helped fund recovery centres for the injured, build residential homes as well as keeping the charity itself afloat so that it can continue to operate.

What do the different coloured remembrance poppies mean?

The traditional red poppy is most commonly worn, but there are other coloured poppies you can choose to wear.

Each colour carries a separate meaning – purple commemorates animals who were killed during the wars, black honours the fallen soldiers of African, black, Caribbean or Pacific Islands heritage and white is a symbol advocating for peace while still remembering the fallen.

MORE: Is Remembrance Day for WW1 or WW2 and why are poppies used to commemorate war?

MORE: Kate Middleton wears £17.99 Zara headband at Festival of Remembrance service

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