11 November 2010

11 November - Remembrance Day in the United Kingdom

(from http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/Remembrance.html)

November is the time of the year when the British wear a red poppy in memory of those who sacrificed their lives for us during wars.

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month marks the signing of the Armistice, on 11th November 1918, to signal the end of World War One.

At 11 am on 11 November 1918 the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years continuous warfare.

What is Remembrance Day?

Remembrance Day is on 11 November. It is a special day set aside to remember all those men and women who were killed during the two World Wars and other conflicts. At one time the day was known as Armistice Day and was renamed Remembrance Day after the Second World War.

Remembrance Sunday is held on the second Sunday in November, which is usually the Sunday nearest to 11 November. Special services are held at war memorials and churches all over Britain.

A national ceremony takes place at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London. The Queen lays the first wreath at the Cenotaph.

Wreaths are layed beside war memorials by companies, clubs and societies. People also leave small wooden crosses by the memorials in remembrance of a family member who died in war.

The 'Last Post'

The "Last Post" is traditionally played to introduce the two minute silence in Remembrance Day ceremonies. It is usually ' played on a bugle. (In military life, 'The Last Post' marks the end of the day and the final farewell.) 

Listen to the ‘Last Post’

The sounding of "Reveille" (or, more commonly, "The Rouse"), ends the two minute silence, followed by the recitation of the "Ode of Remembrance."

Listen to ‘Reveille’

"They Shall not grow old" ("Ode of Remembrance." )

A poem called 'For the Fallen' is often read aloud during the ceremony.

For the Fallen

By Laurence Binyon


With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into the immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against the odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

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.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Poppy Day

Remembrance Day is also known as Poppy Day, because it is traditional to wear an artificial poppy. They are sold by the Royal British Legion, a charity dedicated to helping war veterans.

Two minute silence

At 11am on each Remembrance Sunday a two minute silence is observed at war memorials and other public spaces across the UK.

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