What is Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday?
A date to remember the fallen ones and what they fought for
You will have probably seen volunteers from the Royal British Legion in the streets over the past days distributing poppies. This campaign, called the Poppy Appeal, happens every year in November. The purpose is to create awareness and to mark remembrance for the fallen servicemen and women, as well as to collect funds for the Armed Forces.
The Royal British Legion is a charity founded in May 1921 that provides various kinds of support to members and veterans of the British Armed Forces and their families. The poppy is their symbol.UK citizens wear poppies as a symbol of remembrance for those who have fallen in the war.
Significance of the Poppy
At the end of the WWI, in the middle of the muddied and shrapnel littered fields, which hosted much fierce conflict, poppies were the first flowers to grow.
Flanders Fields by John McCrae May 1915
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 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 the foe;
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, though poppies grow
In Flanders’ Fields.
Poppies are made at the Poppy Factory in Richmond. The factory employs workers who are disabled or suffer from chronic illness.
The Royal British Legion describes the poppy as a “symbol of remembrance and hope”. Despite the belief, the poppy is not a symbol of death, war, nor has any political or religions connotations.
Armistice Day / Remembrance Day
The Armistice Day, also called Remembrance Day, commemorates the signing of the Armistice between the Allies and Germany at 11am on 11th November 1918. However the war officially ended with the Treaty of Versailles on the 28th of June 1919.
Each year, on the 11th of the eleventh month, at 11.00am there is a 2 minute silence to remember those killed in WWI and WWII and any armed conflict since 1945.
The first time Remembrance Day was celebrated was in 1919. King George V said “All locomotion should cease, so that, in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead”. Remembrance Sunday always takes place on the second Sunday of November. In US they celebrate Veterans Day.
- Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall (11/11/17)
- Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey: the National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire; Cardiff, Wales; Royal Wootton Bassett, Swindon; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Gateshead, near Newcastle
- Armistice Day – 2 minute silence at Trafalgar Square (11/11/17)
- On Remembrance Sunday, the Queen and Senior Royals lead 2 minutes silence at 11.00am at the Cenotaph in Whitehall