Every year, on the second Sunday of November, people across the UK unite in commemorating Remembrance Sunday. This year, it falls on November 11 and while the pandemic means it won’t be possible to hold public gatherings to honour the day, something we can all do to show our recognition, is wear a face mask with a poppy on the day – and indeed in the run-up during the period of Remembrance this autumn.
What is Remembrance?
Remembrance honours the service and sacrifice of our Armed Forces, veterans and their families – those who serve to defend our democratic freedoms and way of life. It acknowledges innocent civilians who have lost their lives in conflict and acts of terrorism. It’s an event that seeks to unite across faiths, backgrounds and cultures to remember in their own personal way.
Why is a poppy worn for Remembrance?
Poppies are worn as a show of support for the Armed Forces community. The history of the flower as a symbol dates back to WWI, during which most of the fighting took place in Western Europe. The countryside was so destroyed that beautiful landscapes turned to mud and nothing could grow. The exception, however, were the bright red Flanders poppies, which flourished in the destruction, growing in their thousands.
Canadian doctor Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was moved by the poppies and inspired to write his now-famous poem In Flanders Fields. The poem in turn inspired an American academic Moina Michael to adopt the poppy in memory of those who had fallen in the war and campaign for it to be adopted as an official symbol of Remembrance. The idea spread to the UK and the newly formed Royal British Legion adopted it as an emblem. They ordered nine million poppies for the first ‘Poppy Appeal’ in November 1921 to help veterans with housing and jobs – the poppies sold out almost immediately.
Remembrance in the UK is very different to how it was 100 years ago, but the poppy remains as an enduring poignant symbol of hope.
Where can I buy a poppy face mask online?
As well as the British legion’s newly released, official poppy masks (see below) you can purchase a neck scarf that can serve as a face covering or browse their shop for a range of other poppy accessories including pins, clothes, jewellery and bags – with 100% of profits going to the Royal British Legion. In addition, there are several other online retailers, including Etsy and Amazon who are making their own Remembrance face masks – keep scrolling to see the selection…
Reusable official British Legion poppy face covering, £9.99 each, Poppy Shop
Magnetic Neck Fastening poppy scarf, £9.99, Poppy Shop
Poppy field neck gaiter, £9.99, Amazon
Remembrance Day poppies print mask, £11.83, Redbubble
Unisex neck gaiter poppy field, £10,99, Amazon
For every sale, £1 goes to the Royal British Legion
Poppy Remembrance Day mask, £8, Etsy
Available in kids and adult sizes
7-layer poppy field face mask with carbon filter, 12.99, Etsy