Remembrance Day

Infobox Holiday
holiday_name = Remembrance Day
official_name = Remembrance Day (Veterans Day For U.S.)

caption = Poppy worn on lapel
nickname = Poppy Day, Armistice Day
observedby = Commonwealth of Nations
date = November 11
observances = Parades, silences
longtype =
type = international
significance = Commemorates Commonwealth war dead
relatedto = Veterans Day

Remembrance Day also known as Poppy Day, Armistice Day (the event it commemorates), or Veterans Day is a day to commemorate the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians in times of war, specifically since the First World War. It is observed on 11 November to recall the end of World War I on that date in 1918. The day was specifically dedicated by King George V, on 7 November, 1919, to the observance of members of the armed forces who were killed during war; this was possibly done upon the suggestion of Edward George Honey to Wellesley Tudor Pole who established two ceremonial periods of remembrance based on events in 1917.cite web | | title=The Remembrance Ceremony | url= | accessdaymonth=7 November | accessyear=2006]

Observance in the Commonwealth

Common British, Canadian, South African, and ANZAC traditions include two minutes of silence at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month (11:00 am, 11 November), as that marks the time (in the United Kingdom) when armistice became effective.

The Service of Remembrance in many Commonwealth countries generally includes the playing of the "Last Post," followed by the requisite two minutes of silence, followed again by the playing of "Reveille" (or, more commonly, "The Rouse"), and finished by a recitation of the "Ode of Remembrance." The "Scottish Bagpiper's Lament", "O Valiant Hearts", "I Vow to Thee, My Country" and "And did those feet in ancient time" are often played during the service. Services also include wreaths laid to honour the fallen, a blessing, and National Anthems. [ [|1 A Guide to Commemorative Services - Veterans Affairs Canada ] ]


In Australia Remembrance Day is always observed on 11 November, although the day is not a public holiday. Services are held at 11am at war memorials in suburbs and towns across the two countries, at which the "Last Post" is played by a bugler and a one-minute silence is observed. In recent decades, however, Remembrance Day has been partly eclipsed by ANZAC Day (25 April) as the national day of war commemoration.


In Bermuda, which sent the first colonial volunteer unit to the Western Front in 1915, and which had more people per capita in uniform during the Second World War than any other part of the Empire, Remembrance Day is still an important holiday. The parade in Hamilton had historically been a large and colourful one, as contingents from the Royal Navy, British Regular Army, the local Territorial units, the Canadian Forces, the US Army, Air Force, and Navy, and various cadet corps and other services were all contributed at one time or another to march with the veterans. Since the closing of British, Canadian, and American bases in 1995, the parade has barely grown smaller. In addition to the ceremony held in the City of Hamilton on Remembrance Day itself, marching to the Cenotaph (a smaller replica of the one in London), where wreathes are lain and orations made, a smaller military parade is also held in St. George's on the nearest Sunday to Remembrance Day.


In Canada, Remembrance Day is a holiday for federal government employees; for private business, provincial governments, and schools, its status varies by province: in Western Canada and Atlantic Canada, it is a general holiday; in Ontario and Quebec, it is not, although corporations that are federally registered may make the day a full holiday, or instead, designate a provincially-recognized holiday on a different day.

The official national ceremonies are held at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, presided over by the Governor General of Canada, any members of the Canadian Royal Family, the Prime Minister, and other dignitaries, to the observance of the public. Typically, these events begin with the tolling of the Carillon in the Peace Tower, during which serving members of the Canadian Forces arrive at Confederation Square, followed by the Ottawa diplomatic corps, Ministers of the Crown, special guests, the Royal Canadian Legion (RCL), the vice-regal party, and, if present, the royal party. Before the start of the ceremony, four armed sentries and three sentinels – two flag sentinels and one nursing sister – are posted at the foot of the cenotaph.

The arrival of the Governor General is announced by a trumpeter sounding the "Still," whereupon the viceroy is met by the Dominion President of the RCL and escorted to a dais to receive the Vice-Regal Salute, after which the national anthem, "O Canada," is then played. The moment of remembrance begins with the bugling of "Last Post" immediately before 11:00 am, at which time the gun salute fires and the bells of the Peace Tower toll the hour. Another gun salute signals the end of the two minutes of silence, and cues the playing of a lament, and then the bugling of "The Rouse." A flypast of Canadian Air Command craft then occurs at the start of a 21 gun salute, upon the completion of which a choir sings "In Flanders Fields." The various parties then lay their wreaths at the base of the memorial; one wreath is set by the Silver Cross Mother, the most recent recipient of the Memorial Cross, on behalf of all mothers who lost children in any of Canada's armed conflicts. The royal and/or vice-regal group return to the dias to receive the playing of the Royal Anthem of Canada, "God Save the Queen," prior to the assembled Armed Forces personnel and veterans performing a March Past in front of the royal and/or viceregal persons, bringing about the end of the official ceremonies. [ [ Royal Canadian Legion: National Remembrance Day Ceremony 2007] ] A tradition of paying more personal tribute to the sacrifice of those who have served and lost their lives in defence of the country has emerged since erection of the The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the War Memorial in 2000. After the official ceremony the general public pay their respects by placing their poppies atop the Tomb.

Similar ceremonies take place in provincial capitals across the country, officiated by the relevant Lieutenant Governor, as well as in other cities, towns, and even hotels or corporate headquarters. Schools will usually hold special assemblies for the first half of the day, or on the school day prior, with various presentations concerning the remembrance of the war dead. The largest indoor ceremonies are believed to be held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, with over 7,000 gathering in Credit Union Centre. [cite news| first = Janet| last = French| authorlink = | author = Janet French| coauthors = | title = First Nations vets remember at Wanuskewin| url =| format = | work = | publisher = StarPhoenix| id = | pages = | page = | date = 2007-11-13| accessdate = 2007-11-13| language = | quote = | archiveurl = | archivedate = ]

New Zealand

New Zealand recognises the day as Poppy Day; events and ceremonies are similar to those in Australia.

Papua New Guinea

In Papua New Guinea, New Guinea marks Remembrance Day.cite web | publisher=Sydney Morning Herald | title=Papua New Guinea marks Remembrance Day | url= | accessdaymonth=11 November | accessyear=2007]

outh Africa

In South Africa, the day is not a public holiday. Commemoration ceremonies are usually held on the following Sunday, at which, as with Australia and Britain, the "Last Post" is played by a bugler followed by the observation of a two-minute silence. The two biggest commemoration ceremonies to mark the event in South Africa are held in Johannesburg, at the Cenotaph (where it has been held for 84 consecutive years), and at the War Memorial at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, although two minutes of silence is observed on 11 November itself, the main observance is on the second Sunday of November, Remembrance Sunday. Ceremonies are held at local war memorials, usually organised by local branches of the Royal British Legion – an association for ex-servicemen. Typically, poppy wreaths are laid by representatives of the Crown, the armed forces, and local civic leaders, as well as by local organisations including ex-servicemen organisations, cadet forces, the Scouts, Guides, Boys' Brigade, St John Ambulance and the Salvation Army. The start and end of the silence is often also marked by the firing of a cannon. A minute's or two minutes' silence is also frequently incorporated into church services, and even everyday locations such as supermarkets and banks may invite their customers and staff to fall silent at 11:00 am.cite web | publisher=BBC | title=War dead remembered | url= | accessdaymonth=5 August | accessyear=2007]

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, Her Majesty's Coastguard, etc. 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 11:00 am, and for the King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery at Horse Guards Parade, to fire the cannon marking the commencement of the 2 minutes of silence. Following this, "The Last Post" is played by the buglers of the Royal Marines. "The Rouse" is then played by the trumpeters of the Royal Air Force, after which, to Beethoven's "Death March," wreaths are laid by attendees in the following order: the Queen; senior members of the Royal Family attending in military uniform; the Prime Minister; the leaders of the major political parties from all parts of the United Kingdom; Commonwealth High Commissioners to London, on behalf of their respective nations; the Foreign Secretary, on behalf of the British Dependencies; the Chief of the Defence Staff; the First Sea Lord; the Chief of the General Staff; the Chief of the Air Staff; representatives of the merchant navy and Fishing Fleets and the merchant air service. Junior members of the Royal Family usually watch the service from the balcony of the Foreign Office. The service is generally conducted by the Bishop of London, with a choir from the Chapels Royal, in the presence of representatives of all major faiths in the United Kingdom. Before the marching commences, the members of the Royal Family and public sing the national anthem before the Royal Delegation lead out after the main service.

Members of the Metropolitan Police Cadets and British Army Cadets join in with the marching, alongside paramedics from St. John Ambulance and the London Ambulance Service, and conflict veterans from WW1, WW2, the Falklands, Kosovo, Bosnia, Northern Ireland and the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. After the service, there is a parade of veterans, who also lay wreaths at the foot of the Cenotaph as they pass, and a salute is taken by a member of the Royal Family at Horse Guards Parade.

Outside the Commonwealth

Republic of Ireland

In the Republic of Ireland, Armistice or Remembrance Day is not a public holiday or a day generally observed, although it is observed by the Republic’s citizens who are serving or who have served in the British Armed Forces [] and the wider Irish Protestant communuity as part of their traditon and heritage [] [] .The Republic is a neutral state and has its own small army which is involved in UN peacekeeping missions; citizens of the Republic of Ireland still enlist in the British Army [] [] .The Irish National War Memorial Gardens is an Irish war memorial in Dublin dedicated to the memory of the 49,400 Irish soldiers who were killed in action in World War 1 [] .
Remembrance Sunday is marked in the Republic by a ceremony in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, in which the President of Ireland attends [] [] [,null,230] .

United States

Veterans Day is commemorated in the United States on 11 November, and is both a federal holiday and a state holiday in all states. However, the function of the observance elsewhere is more closely matched by Memorial Day in May. In the United States, and some other allied nations, 11 November was formerly known as Armistice Day; in the United States it was given its new name after the end of World War II. Most schools, particularly more middle and high schools than some elementary schools, throughout the U.S. usually hold assemblies on a school day prior, with various presentations recognizing teachers and staff members who served in one of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces, as well as remembering the U.S. troops who died in past and present wars, and some patriotic music by a school choir, band and/or orchestra, including songs from a musical used as a tribute to the troops (e.g. "Bring Him Home" from "Les Misérables").


In Germany, Armistice or Remembrance Day is unknown. Public memory of World War I in Germany is generally scarce. Moreover, 11 November would be seen as an inappropriate date for such a holiday, as it traditionally marks the beginning of the German carnival. However, "Volkstrauertag" is commemorated. Originally this was on the fifth Sunday before Easter, but since 1952, has been celebrated two Sundays before the beginning of Advent. It has never been celebrated in the church since both the major German churches have their own festivals for commemorating the dead (All Souls Day in the case of the Roman Catholic church, "Ewigkeitssonntag", or "Eternity Sunday" in the case of the Lutheran church. Both festivals also fall in November.) Facts|date=November 2007

Anglican and Roman Catholics

For Anglican and Roman Catholic Christians, there is a coincidental but appropriate overlap of Remembrance Day with the feast of St. Martin of Tours, a saint famous for putting aside his life as a soldier and turning to the peace-filled life of a monk. Statues or images associated with St. Martin are for this reason sometimes used as symbols of Remembrance Day in religious contexts (e.g., the Anglican Cathedral of Montreal).


The poppy's significance to Remembrance Day is a result of Canadian military physician John McCrae's poem "In Flanders Fields". The poppy emblem was chosen because of the poppies that bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their red colour an appropriate symbol for the bloodshed of trench warfare. A Frenchwoman, Anna E. Guérin, introduced the widely used artificial poppies given out today. Some people choose to wear white poppies, which emphasises a desire for peaceful alternatives to military action.


In Canadian tradition, the poppy is worn by many members of society during the two weeks prior to November 11. Until 1996, poppies were made by disabled veterans in Canada, but they have since been made by a private contractor. []

United Kingdom

In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland the poppies are the flat Earl Haig variety with a leaf. Wearers require a separate pin to attach the poppy to their clothing. In Northern Ireland, because the poppy honours soldiers in the British Army and due to The Troubles, it is worn primarily by members of the Unionist and the Irish Protestant community.

Poppy variations

In Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Scotland the poppies are curled at the petals with no leaf. The Canadian poppies consist of two pieces and a pin to attach them to clothing. The head portion of the pin is bent at an angle in a simple unusual design that requires a unique machine at manufacturing. For many years the centre of the Canadian poppy was both black and green (from two small concentric circles made of felt - the outer was green and the inner was black); current designs are black only.

In Sri Lanka in the inter-war years, there were rival sales of yellow "Suriya" (portia tree) flowers by the Suriya-Mal Movement on Remembrance Day, since funds from poppy sales were not used for Sri Lankan ex-service personnel but were repatriated to Britain. However, nowadays poppy sales are used for indigenous ex-service personnel who have been disabled in the ongoing civil war.


"Remembrance Day" is the primary designation for the day in many Commonwealth countries such as Australia and Canada. However, "Armistice Day" also remains, often to differentiate the event from Remembrance Sunday, and is the primary designation used in New Zealand and France.

"Poppy Day" is also a popular term used, particularly in Malta and South Africa. Veterans Day also falls upon this day in the United States, yet many other allied nations have quite different Veterans Days.

ee also

* Armistice with Germany (Compiègne)
* Hari Pahlawan
* Veterans Day
* Unknown Warrior
* Remembrance Sunday
* "In Flanders Fields" (poem by John McCrae)
* Royal Canadian Legion
* Veterans' Bill of Rights
* Returned & Services League of Australia
* Earl Haig Fund
* Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association
* Anzac Day
* Ode of Remembrance
* Remembrance Day Bombing
* Armistice Day
* White Poppy
* Volkstrauertag
* Collective memory

External links

* [ The History of Poppy Day]
* [ Video record of Remembrance day rituals 2005 in South London]
* [ The Poppy Appeal]


6. "The Origin of the Two Minutes of Silence,"in "Our Empire," vol. VI, no 8, 1931, p. 27.


* [ Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association]
* [ Commemoration - Red poppies]
* [ Royal Canadian Legion]
* [ Returned & Services League of Australia]

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