Monday, November 14, 2011

Remembrance Sunday

In the United Kingdom, 'Remembrance Sunday' is held on the second Sunday in November, which is the Sunday nearest to the November 11th Armistice Day (the anniversary of the end of hostilities in the First World War at 11 a.m. in 1918) and the day "to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts".

A very moving event, one we even watched on television! For those interested, read on.

The United Kingdom national ceremony is held in London at the Cenotaph on Whitehall and, since 2002, also at the Women's Memorial. Many other UK cities and villages participate in local Remembrance Day celebrations. For those US friends, think of US Memorial Day, and you get the picture.


Wreaths are laid by Queen Elizabeth, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, as well as many of the members of the Royal Family as well, the Prime Minister, leaders of major political parties and former Prime Ministers, the Foreign Secretary, the Commonwealth High Commissioners and representatives from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, the Merchant Navy and fishing fleets and the civilian services.



Two minutes' silence is held at 11 a.m., before the laying of the wreaths. The silence represents the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, when the guns of Europe fell silent. This silence is marked by the firing of a field gun on Horse Guards Parade to begin and end the silence, followed by Royal Marines buglers sounding Last Post. Church bells are usually rung "half-muffled", creating a sombre effect.

Other members of the British Royal Family watch from the balcony of the Foreign Office.


After the ceremony, a parade of veterans, organised by the Royal British Legion, marches past the Cenotaph, each section of which lays a wreath as it passes.

Throughout the UK, small crosses with red poppies adorn churches, cemeteries, etc. These are from outside Westminster Abbey.

Westminster Abbey Field of Remembrance

Westminster Abbey Field of Remembrance

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