Today Guyana and other countries around the world celebrates Remembrance Day. Remembrance Day (also known as Poppy Day or Armistice Day) is commemorated on the 11th November each year, and marks the end of World War I in 1918. Hostilities formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month,” in accordance with the Armistice, signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente between 5:12 and 5:20 that morning. (“At the 11th hour” refers to the passing of the 11th hour, or 11:00 a.m.) World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919. The day was specifically dedicated by King George V on 7 November 1919 as a day of remembrance for members of the armed forces who were killed during World War I. Selling replicas of the original Flanders’ poppy originated in some of the allied countries immediately after the Armistice.
How Guyana Celebrates Poppy Day
According to Guyana Legion President Colonel (retired) Carl Morgan, Guyana observes Remembrance Day annually on the Sunday closest to November 11. “This day is marked by parades in Georgetown, New Amsterdam, Vreed-en-Hoop, Linden, Anna Regina, Bartica, Lethem and other towns around the country,” he explained. Other activities include the Digicel sponsored School’s Quiz, the laying of wreaths on the wall of Queen’s College’s assembly hall between the two plaques bearing the names of the alma maters and students who gave their lives during the wars; the laying of wreaths in the military cemetery in Eve Leary; and a reception at the Coghlan House.
Red poppies are often worn on Remembrance Day. The tradition has its origins in a poem written in 1915 by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a doctor in the Royal Canadian Medical Corps. Lieutenant Colonel McCrae noticed that, despite the devastation caused by the war to towns, farms and forests, thousands of small red poppies began growing everywhere in Spring. This inspired his poem ” In Flanders Fields
Remembrance Day is not only to remember those who died in the great world wars, but also to remember all who died in previous and subsequent wars. The Guyana Legion is made up of ex-servicemen, the widows of ex-servicemen, present day military retirees and those that have become amputees in the line of duty.