IN 2001 the Royal British Legion marks its 80th anniversary as Britain's leading charity protecting the interests, welfare and memory of ex-Service people and their dependants.
The Legion, and the Poppy Appeal, which raises 50 per cent of the funds for its welfare and resettlement work, are internationally recognised and respected, but often not fully understood. For example, many people don't realise that:
Anyone who has been in the British Armed Forces for seven days or more - and their dependants - is eligible to ask the Legion for support and advice. This is six million ex-Service people and their nine million dependants, from many different backgrounds and experiences, who all have one thing in common they have been affected directly or indirectly by time spent in Service.
The Legion has staff and volunteers around the country who help with a wide variety of issues funded through the Poppy Appeal including counselling, job retraining, skills assessment, obtaining benefits and war pensions, small business advice and loans. It aims to help members of the ex-Service community achieve a better quality of life and maximise their skills and opportunities.
The British Legion was formed on July 1 1921 through an amalgamation of four First World War ex-Service organisations. In 1925 it was granted a Royal Charter and on its 50th anniversary in 1971 the charity became know as The Royal British Legion.
Conflicts up to the present day including in Bosnia, the Falklands, the Gulf and Northern Ireland, mean that the Legion is needed now and in the future, for the younger generation as well as their parents and grandparents. At present British service-people are deployed in the ' War Against Terrorism'.
Rememberance Day Silence
MORE than three-quarters of the population are expected to pause for the. Two Minute Silence at 11 am on Sunday November 11, the moment guns fell silent at the end of the First World War. The Royal British Legion has campaigned since 1995 for the reinstatement of the Two Minute Silence on Armistice Day at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Remembrance Sunday is always the second Sunday in November, and for the first time since 1990 it coincides with Armistice Day.
The Legion anticipates that more than 45 million people will take part in what has become by far the biggest annual spontaneous demonstration of public support for any cause in the country. Independent research commissioned by the Legion last year found that 93 per cent of those polled felt that 'Remembrance and observance of the Two Minute Silence should continue to feature strongly in the life of the nation every year'. The under 15s are strongly in favour of remembrance and recognise the Two Minute Silence as the 'right tribute' to hose killed or injured in the service of their country'.