Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance Sunday is a holiday observed on the second Sunday of November in the United Kingdom that remembers British service men who have died in wars and other armed conflicts since the outbreak of World War I. Throughout the country, a two-minute period of silence is observed at 11 a.m., and church services and other ceremonial events take place throughout the day. For decades, a nationally broadcast commemoration ceremony at the Cenotaph monument in central London has been attended by politicians, religious leaders, military people, and members of the British royal family.

The holiday derives from Armistice Day, which was established in the United Kingdom on November 11, 1919, to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I. In response to a politician’s idea, King George V suggested that the kingdom observe two minutes of silence in remembrance of the war’s casualties. Following that, a moment of silence became the focal point of Armistice Day ceremonies, which took place yearly until the onset of World War II in 1939, when it was determined that no major celebrations, would take place on November 11 of that year. Rather, throughout the conflict, a nearby Sunday was commemorated as a “day of dedication.”

Following the end of World War II, the British government, in order to honour participants in both wars, formally replaced Armistice Day with a new Sunday celebration known as Remembrance Sunday. The date was set in 1956 as the second Sunday of the month. Armistice Day has been resurrected in recent years as an alternative opportunity for quiet, however Remembrance Sunday remains the primary day of observance.

The red poppy, which became connected with World War I monuments as dozens of the flowers sprouted across the old battlefields of Belgium and northern France, is the most iconic emblem of Remembrance Sunday. (The phenomena was illustrated in Canadian soldier John McCrae’s famed 1915 poem “In Flanders Fields.”) The newly created British Legion (now the Royal British Legion), a nonprofits organisation for veterans, began selling red paper poppies for Armistice Day in 1921, and its annual Poppy Appeal has been hugely successful ever then. Aside from poppies worn on clothes, wreaths made of poppies are typically placed at memorial locations. Since the 1930s, certain organizations have advocated white poppies as a symbol of peace, however this has often been greeted with opposition.