Remembrance Day isn't a holiday or celebration - but it is a very important date in the year.....
In 1918 at 1100 on the 11th day of the 11th month (November) the armistice with Germany that ended World War One was signed and peace was declared throughout Europe. In order to remember those who died and give thanks for their sacrifices it was declared that in future November 11th would be known as Armistice Day and that a two minute silence would be observed to honour all those, living and dead, who served in the Armed Forces.
In 1945 Armistice Day was renamed ‘Remembrance Day’ and from 1956 this has been commemorated in Britain on the nearest Sunday to 11 November.
Remembrance Day is commemorated by church services and poppy wreath laying ceremonies throughout the country, the most famous of which is held at the Cenotaph in London which was erected in 1920 in Whitehall, near the Houses of Parliament. This is attended by the Royal Family, the Prime Minister, Heads of State and many Service personnel. At 1100 a two minute silence is observed before a number of poppy wreaths are laid at the Cenotaph.
The poppy is worn on Remembrance Day in memory of all the people who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars and other conflicts such as in the Falklands and the Gulf. The red poppies represent the poppies that were the first things to grow on the battlefields of Flanders after the end of the First World War where many thousands of soldiers lost their lives. The paper poppies that are worn today are made by ex-servicemen and women and sold by volunteers from the British Legion. The money raised from the sale of these poppies helps to look after those who have served in the armed forces.
Canada, and the Commonwealth, also celebrate Remembrance Day on 11 November as does the United States, although from 1954 it has been called Veterans Day in the USA.
They shall grow not old
As we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them
Nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember them.
© Laurence Binyon