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timtrueman's avatar

What is that red and green thing pinned on BBC presenters occasionally?

Asked by timtrueman (5765points) November 8th, 2010

I’ve seen it a few times on Top Gear and Formula 1 presenters. I assume it’s a BBC or UK thing…can someone clue me in as to its significance?

Photo example of three presenters wearing it:

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16 Answers

gggritso's avatar

That looks like a poppy that people wear around Remembrance Day.

richardhenry's avatar

@gggritso Out of interest, are they widely worn in Canada? They tend to be in the UK, I’ve worn them before (although not this year yet or last year).

zenvelo's avatar

In the US it’s for Veterans day. “In Flanders Fields the poppies blow Between the crosses row on row….” in rememberance of WW I.

gggritso's avatar

@richardhenry Yes, very widely. Among adults in general they are very common, but among high-school students they are almost 100%. Around November, teachers usually get these poppy pins, and they give them out asking for a small donation in return. As a result, almost everyone wears them. They’re also “sold” in many stores at the counter, with the proceeds donated, of course.

Remembrance Day is a pretty big deal here. It’s a holiday in most provinces, special coins are usually minted for the occasion (Canada was the first nation to put a colour coin into circulation; it was a red poppy coin). Schools always have assemblies, and it’s pretty typical to have a minute of silence at 11:11 no matter where you are.

talljasperman's avatar

@richardhenry They are widely worn in Canada on nov5 to nov 11

richardhenry's avatar

@gggritso Exactly the same here, almost everyone in high school would wear them.

Aqua's avatar

Yeah, they definitely look like poppies to me. I didn’t realize so many other countries (besides Canada) wore them.

mammal's avatar

November 11th is armistice day, 11th hour 11th day 11th month was the date and time that concluded WW1. So Nov 11th is commemorated every year, for all those who served and died in conflicts, the poppy symbolises the fallen.

We Shall Keep the Faith
by Moina Michael, November 1918

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

cazzie's avatar

We wore poppies on Anzac Day in New Zealand, too.

meiosis's avatar

In the UK, they’re sold by The Royal British Legion to raise money for their mission to look after veterans and their families. Have a look at for more information

Kayak8's avatar

In the US, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) typically hands out small poppies on Veterans Day (often at parades) with a similar mission of fundraising as described above. They are referred to as the Buddy Poppy.

This notion of the 11th day of the 11th month should be really interesting next year when, for the first time since the war, we can acknowledge 11–11-11 at 11:11.

Seelix's avatar

They’re definitely widely worn in Canada from the beginning of November to the 11th, but I must say I’ve never seen them with the green leaf on (must be a UK-only style?). I remember when I was a kid, the poppies had a green centre, but in recent years they’ve had a black centre.

flutherother's avatar

These are very familiar objects at this time of the year in the UK. They commemorate the ending of the First World War and raise money for disabled veterans of all wars. They chose the poppy as lots of them grew on the battlefields of France before they were turned into a sea of mud by shellfire.

Nially_Bob's avatar

They’re worn in commemoration of those who died in WWI and are very commonly worn around this time of year in the UK, commonwealth countries and much of Europe (I’m not too certain about how common they are in the US).

The poppy being used as a symbol of WWI derives from the poem by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, “In Flanders Fields” wherein he describes the vast number of poppies he saw across the battleground at which he was stationed as a physician.

meiosis's avatar

@flutherother It’s the other way around. The fields weren’t full of poppies before the battles of WWI. Their seeds need sunlight to germinate, and the constant pounding and churning of the battlefields by munitions provided them with ideal conditions in which to flourish as never before.

cazzie's avatar

Yeah, I remember that story, that the poppies showed up the season after the fighting stopped. There was a poem about how the red of the poppies were traded for the red blood the soldiers shed.

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