Poppies and Wreaths

Royal British Legion poppy
Photo Credit: Cristiana Ferrauti

Flower wreaths decorate the significant sites where Unknown Soldiers rest.

One hundred years ago, the First World War started and it ended only in the 1918, with the loss of too many lives which are commemorated during this month.

Paper, knitted, metallic, pinned to the collar of a coat or of a jacket, red poppies are widespread among the Londoners who crowd the Tube, the streets, and the shops.
Even by a look at the ground, you may find a red paper poppy fallen from the clothing of a person in a hurry.

Used since the 1921 by the American Legion, the floral symbol was afterwards adopted by the Royal British Legion for the same meaning: to commemorate the soldiers who lost their lives during the First World War.

The bright petals were inspired by the war poem “In Flanders Fields”, written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae during the first worldwide conflict.
He told that poppies were the first plant which grew in Flanders - a region in the north part of Belgium- where many soldiers died.

On Thursday 6th of November, several events in London opened the week ahead the Remembrance Day – on 11th of November.

The Queen attended the opening of the Flanders Memorial Garden, while Prince Harry laid a wooden cross on the grave of Unknown Soldiers in the Field of Remembrance – now at its 86th event.
The cross is one of the many wooden tokens which marked the lawn of St Margaret’s Church – between Westminster Abbey and the House of Parliament-, the memorial setting annually arranged by the Royal British Legion.
The garden will last for eight days, from its opening on the Thursday before the Remembrance Day.

Il Milite Ignoto - the Unknown Soldier
Photo Credit: Renzo Ferrante https://www.flickr.com/photos/erreeffe/
On the 4th of November, in Italy, the Head of State, Giorgio Napolitano, laid a wreath on the Altar of the Fatherland, where the Unknown Soldier rests.

In the 1918, during the same day, the Victory Bulletin announced the surrender of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, according to the armistice signed with Italy at Villa Giusti, near the city of Padova.

One year later, with the Saint-Germain-en-Laye treaty, Italy succeeded in gathering the territories of Trento and Trieste, with the result of the National Unity.
This was the end of the First World War for the country.
During this date, Unity Day is celebrated as well as the Armed Forces.

[if the video does not download properly or it takes too much time, you can watch it here: Napolitano laid a wreath on the Altar of the Fatherland]

Different in the anthems, different in the leaders who participate, different in the places: though, the European countries found themselves united and similar in the gestures for Remembrance of many brave men’s sacrifice.