The Royal British Legion Remembrance overview 2020

Remembrance is the act of honouring those who serve to defend our democratic freedoms and way of life. We unite across faiths, cultures and backgrounds to remember the service and sacrifice of the Armed Forces community from Britain and the Commonwealth.


Who do we remember?

The Legion’s period of Remembrance is 100 years, otherwise known as within living memory i.e. in 2020 we commemorate service and sacrifice from 1920 onwards.

When we ask the nation to Remember, we are remembering the following groups:

  • All those who served under the British Crown or under British command
  • The special contribution of families and the emergency services, and
  • The innocent civilians who have lost their lives in conflict and acts of terrorism.

Why do we remember?

Remembrance serves a number of important purposes:

  • As thanks: It is a chance for individuals, communities and the nation to honour those who serve and sacrifice to defend our nation and our way of life and who gave their today for our tomorrow
  • To bring communities together: Communities across Britain irrespective of religion, race or ethnicity share a history of service and sacrifice from the two world wars through to the present day and therefore Remembrance is a time to reflect on what we have in common as different communities within our nation
  • To understand who we are: To understand modern Britain is to understand that it was built upon the service and sacrifice of millions of men and women from Britain and the Commonwealth during the two great wars and in the rebuilding of the nation after them
  • To learn: as we remember the service and sacrifice of so many, who came from every walk of life and from every background, whether they served 100 years ago or today, the act of Remembering reminds us that we must all continue to strive for a better more peaceful future

How do we remember?

While there are historic national and community forms of Remembrance, the Legion does not specify how, where or when people should Remember.

To encourage Remembrance the Remembrance team at the Legion is working with individuals, organisations and communities across the three areas below:

  • Teaching Remembrance
  • Community engagement
  • The Remembrance Glade
  • Teaching remembrance

There are over 60 educational and learning products for key stages 1-5 on the Teaching Remembrance hub. All are available in Welsh.

Assets include:

  • Lessons plans
  • School assemblies
  • Whole school activities book clubs
  • Art projects

In addition:

  • New Guide and Cadet Remembrance learning activities
  • Remembrance activities available for Scouts for Remembrancetide 2020 , with full learning activities to be launched in 2021
  • Over 20 films from Second World War veterans

Community engagement

The key aspects of our community engagement work include:

  • Ensuring that in our national commemorations, such as in the 75th anniversaries of VE or VJ Day, we reflect as fully as possible the national, ethnic, and religious backgrounds of all those who served and sacrificed, as well as reflecting the variety of different types of service
  • Partnered with the Commonwealth Memorial Gates Trust to build on the annual Commonwealth Memorial Gates event and to develop joint Commonwealth focused learning materials
  • Working with British Future and others to develop national projects to ensure that the service and sacrifice of all communities is recognised
  • Working with community groups/organisations to share their Remembrance stories and support the development of community Remembrance

Community / neighbourhood engagement

Under current Covid-19 restrictions we all have to think differently about how we engage and interact with our neighbours or our wider communities. However to ensure that national and local acts of Remembrance can still take place we have provided some ideas below for how you might want to consider remembering this year while adhering to Covid-19 rules.

  • Have a small Remembrance service in your garden and if you can create a small Remembrance space in your garden by for example planting plants that have a connection to Remembrance
  • Use Zoom/Facebook live or another appropriate online meeting resource to host an online Remembrance service / activity.
  • Set-up a community Remembrance forum to discuss different residents’ Remembrance stories
  • Create an online exhibition of Remembrance related photos from local residents that schools or others could use to discuss local Remembrance activities.

Remembrance activities

  • Host an online interview with a local veteran or someone currently serving to discuss what service and sacrifice meant/means to them, and ask other people to join the interview
  • Open an online book of Remembrance that family, friends and others can sign as a mark of Remembrance
  • Write letters of Remembrance to veterans or serving personnel
  • Share Remembrance education activities with children and others
  • Create your own Remembrance art piece. Children and families could be asked to display something in their window like the children’s rainbows in the windows for COVID-19.

The Remembrance Glade

The new Remembrance Glade was opened at the National Memorial Arboretum in 2020. it presents how the Legion views 21st Century Remembrance; it is both inclusive and personal.

  • Glade learning assets will be available from the end of October.
  • The Glade can be used as an inspiration for those who wish to create their own Remembrance space whether on a window-sill, garden or in a community space, and details of Remembrance related plants.
  • The Glade itself provides a place of peace and tranquillity where individuals, families, school children or other groups can come to, to reflect on what Remembrance means to them.

How can remembrance help you

We can provide facts and figures to help you understand your communities’ history of service and sacrifice

We have a wide range of educational and learning materials for schools and families on our Teaching Remembrance hub

We have Glade activity pacts to encourage home Remembrance

If there is anything else that Remembrance can support you with then please contact the team at  [email protected]

The remembrance theme

Every year the Legion creates a Remembrance theme as a way of shaping and communicating the different Remembrance activities taking place

In 2020 the Remembrance theme is `Coming Home`, however as the world has changed enormously with the Covid-19 pandemic, how we talk about Remembrance in 2020 has also changed.

The Legion in our Remembrance activities and actions will be talking about both the millions of British and Commonwealth men and women whose service and sacrifice secured peace and freedom 75 years ago, and also about the service and sacrifice of so many today in protecting our nation from COVID-19 and the similarities in feelings, emotions and experiences of then and now.

And while the causes of those similarities are very different there remain many, for example family separation, a feeling of the unknown and of what comes next, and a desire to come together to support each other.