History of Remembrance Day:
Remembrance Day is a memorial day observed in the Commonwealth of Nations member states since the end of the First World War to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. The day, specifically designated by King George V on 7th November 1919, or alternative dates, are also recognised as special days for war remembrances in many
Remembrance Day is observed on the 11th November to recall the end of hostilities of World War One on that date in 1918. Hostilities formally ended "at the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month", in accordance with the armistice signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente between 5:12 and 5:20 that morning. "At the 11th hour" refers to the passing of the 11th hour.
The memorial evolved out of Armistice Day, which continues to be marked on the same date. The initial Armistice Day was observed at Buckingham Palace, commencing with King George V hosting a "Banquet in Honour of the President of the French Republic", during the evening hours of 10th November 1919. The first official Armistice Day was subsequently held on the grounds of Buckingham Palace the following morning.
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 One, their brilliant red colour became a symbol for the blood spilled in war.
In the United Kingdom, the main observance is on the Sunday nearest to the 11th November, Remembrance Sunday with two minutes of silence observed on 11th November itself, a custom which had lapsed before a campaign for its revival began in the 1990's.
Ceremonies are held at local War Memorials, usually organised by local branches of the Royal British Legion, an association for ex-servicemen/women. Typically, poppy wreaths are laid by representatives of the crown, the armed forces, and local civic leaders, as well as local organisations including ex-servicemen/women organisations, Cadets forces, the Scouts, Guides, Boys' Brigade, St John Ambulance and the Salvation Army.
The start and end of the silence is often marked by firing of an artillery piece. A two minutes silence is also frequently incorporated into church services. Further wreath-laying ceremonies are observed at most war memorials across the UK at 11am on 11th November, led by the Royal British Legion. The beginning and end of the two minutes' silence at 11:00am.
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 and Her Majesty's Coastguard. 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 11:00am, and the Kings Troop, Royal Horse Artillery at Horse Guards Parade, to fire the cannon marking the commencement of the two minutes of silence.
In Flanders Fields Poem:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
between the crosses, row on row,
that mark our place; and in the sky
the larks, still bravely singing, fly
scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
loved and were loved, and now we lie
in Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with for:
to you from failing hands we throw
the torch; be yours to hold it high.
if ye break faith with us who die
we shall not sleep, through poppies grow
in Flanders fields.
A Soldier Who Fought For Us Poem:
A soldier who fought for us
Bleeding with sadness
Had one heart to die for our freedom
That is why we remember on one
special day called 'Remembrance Day'.
By Beth Lloyd