Remembrance Day – the 100th Anniversary

The Cenotaph on Remembrance Day

The Cenotaph on Remembrance day

The simple idea behind Remembrance Day (Armistice Day) is that it gives individuals a chance to remember those who gave their lives in the two world wars as well as all those who have died in battle since. The event is commemorated on the 11th of November every year.

The date is significant because the first world war ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. This brought to an end four years of the most bloody fighting the world had ever seen.

This year’s event will have special significance because it will be mark exactly 100 years since the war came to an end.

Remembrance Day is often referred to Poppy Day as the little red flowers, sold to help fund charities supporting ex-soldiers, proliferate in the weeks leading up to the event.

Armistice Day is marked by a number of events, from special concerts to church services, that take place across the country to mark the anniversary.

The annual focal point of the memorial is a special service at the Cenotaph in Whitehall. The event is attended by the Queen, members of the royal family, politicians from the leading parties, as well as military representatives.

The ceremony at the Cenotaph begins with two minutes of silence at 11am. The beginning of the silence is signalled by the buglers of the Royal Marines sounding Last Post and the two minutes end with the same bulgers sounding The Rouse. The silence is followed by a gun salut performed by the Gunners of the Royal Horse Artillery.

Wreaths are then laid on the Cenotaph to commemorate the fallen. The first wreath is traditionally laid by the Queen, but in recent years this task has been carried out by the Prince of Wales.

Following Prince Charles, wreaths are then laid by other members of the royal family, the Prime Minister, leaders of the other major political parties and representatives of the military. A brief religious service follows before the national anthem closes the ceremony.

Following the service, a huge parade takes place with veterans saluting and marching past the Cenotaph.

The Cenotaph, which comes from Greek and translates as ’empty tomb’ began life as a temporary structure erected for the peace day march in London in 1919.

The initial wood and plaster structure was built by Edward Lutyens at the request of the Prime Minister, Lloyd George. However, such was the enthusiastic public reaction to the structure, that a permanent monument was commissioned and this was also built by Lutyens.

This structure, complete with it’s powerful dedication to “the glorious dead” was unveiled in 1920.

For more information on Remembrance Sunday, please click the following link:

For more information on traditional events in London, click the following link:

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