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Remembrance Day - Poppy Day

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Always remember the 5th of November; most importantly remember the 11th November.

“Remembrance
Day
(also known as Poppy Day, Armistice Day
or Veterans Day)
is a memorial
day observed in Commonwealth countries to remember the
members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty since World War I.
This day, or alternative dates, are also recognized as special days for war
remembrances in many non-Commonwealth countries. Remembrance Day is observed on
11 November to recall the official end of World War I on that date in 1918;
hostilities formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th
month” of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice (”at the
11th hour” refers to the passing
of the 11th hour, or 11:00 a.m.)

The day was specifically
dedicated by
King George V on 7
November 1919 as a day of remembrance of members of the armed forces who were
killed during World War I. This was possibly done upon the suggestion of
Edward George Honey to Wellesley Tudor Pole, who established two
ceremonial periods of remembrance based on events in 1917.
[1]

The red remembrance
poppy
has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the
poem “
In Flanders Fields“. These poppies bloomed
across some of the worst battlefields of
Flanders
in World War I, their brilliant red colour an appropriate symbol for the blood
spilled in the war.

In the United Kingdom, although two minutes of silence
are observed on 11 November itself, the main observance is on the second Sunday
of November, Remembrance Sunday. Ceremonies are held at
local war memorials,
usually organized by local branches of the Royal British Legion – an association for
ex-servicemen. Typically, poppy wreaths are laid by representatives of the
Crown, the armed forces, and local civic leaders, as well as by local
organizations including ex-servicemen organizations, cadet forces,
the Scouts, Guides,
Boys’ Brigade,
St John Ambulance and the Salvation
Army
. The start and end of the silence is often also marked by the
firing of a cannon. A minute’s or two minutes’ silence is also frequently
incorporated into church services. Further wreath-laying ceremonies are observed
at most war memorials across the UK at 11 a.m. on the 11th of November, led by
the Royal British Legion.[16]
The beginning and end of the two minutes silence is often marked in large towns
and cities by the firing of ceremonial cannon[17]
and many employers, and businesses invite their staff and customers to observe
the two minutes silence at 11:00 a.m.[18]

The First Two Minute Silence in London (11 November 1919) was reported
in the Manchester Guardian on
12 November 1919:

The first stroke of eleven produced a magical effect. The tram cars
glided into stillness, motors ceased to cough and fume, and stopped dead, and
the mighty-limbed dray horses hunched back upon their loads and stopped also,
seeming to do it of their own volition. Someone took off his hat, and with a
nervous hesitancy the rest of the men bowed their heads also. Here and there an
old soldier could be detected slipping unconsciously into the posture of
‘attention’. An elderly woman, not far away, wiped her eyes, and the man beside
her looked white and stern. Everyone stood very still … The hush deepened. It
had spread over the whole city and become so pronounced as to impress one with
a sense of audibility. It was a silence which was almost pain … And the
spirit of memory brooded over it all.[19]

The Cenotaph at Whitehall, London on Remembrance Day 2004

The main national commemoration is held at Whitehall,
in Central
London
, for dignitaries, the public, and ceremonial detachments from
the armed forces and civilian uniformed services such as the Merchant Navy, Her Majesty’s Coastguard, etc. Members of
the British Royal Family walk through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
towards the Cenotaph, assembling to the right of the monument to wait for Big Ben
to strike 11:00 a.m., and for the King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery at Horse Guards Parade, to fire the cannon marking
the commencement of the two minutes of silence. Following this, “Last
Post” is sounded by the buglers of the Royal Marines.
“The Rouse” is then sounded by the trumpeters of the Royal Air Force,
after which wreaths are laid by the Queen and senior members of the Royal
Family attending in military uniform and then, to “Beethoven’s Funeral
March” (composed by Johann Heinrich Walch), attendees in the
following order: the Prime Minister; the
leaders of the major political parties from all parts of the United Kingdom; Commonwealth High
Commissioners
to London, on behalf of their respective nations; the Foreign
Secretary
, on behalf of the British Dependencies; the First Sea
Lord
; the Chief of the General Staff;
the Chief of the Air Staff;
representatives of the merchant navy and Fishing Fleets and the
merchant air service. Other members of the Royal Family usually watch the
service from the balcony of the Foreign Office. The
service is generally conducted by the Bishop of
London
, with a choir from the Chapels Royal,
in the presence of representatives of all major faiths in the United Kingdom.
Before the marching commences, the members of the Royal Family and public sing
the national anthem before the
Royal Delegation lead out after the main service.

Members of the Reserve Forces and cadet organizations join
in with the marching, alongside volunteers from St John
Ambulance
, paramedics from the London Ambulance Service, and conflict
veterans from World War II, the Falklands,
Kosovo,
Bosnia, Northern
Ireland
, other past conflicts and the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. The last
three British-resident veterans of World War I, Bill Stone,
Henry
Allingham
, and Harry Patch, attended the 2008 ceremony but all
died in 2009. After the service, there is a parade of veterans, who also lay
wreaths at the foot of the Cenotaph as they pass, and a salute is taken by a
member of the Royal Family at Horse Guards Parade.

In the United Kingdom, Armed Forces’ Day
(formerly Veterans’ Day) is a separate commemoration, celebrated for the first
time on 27 June 2009.”

Credit wikipedia.

 

 

 

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