Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance Sunday is annually held to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth civilian and military servicemen and women apart…

Remembrance Sunday is annually held to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth civilian and military servicemen and women apart of the two World Wars along with later conflicts. It is held on the second Sunday in November, this is the Sunday closest to the 11th November, known as Armistice Day, and is the anniversary of the end of hostilities in World War I in 1918. In 2022 this is on Sunday 13th November.

A field of poppies

The day is marked with ceremonies held at local war memorials in cities, towns and villages across the UK and beyond. Many military personnel past and present lay wreaths at these memorials. These wreaths are made up of remembrance poppies and are laid on the memorials along with a 2-minute silence which is held at 11am. Church bells also ring during this time. Larger gatherings, such as the national ceremony held in London, also features a parade, ceremony and service lasting around 2 hours in total. 

The National ceremony takes place at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in London and is televised. Showing members of the royal family laying wreaths, a remembrance service of prayers and hymns and concluding with a parade of thousands of ex-service personnel, contingents from other organisations like the Scouts and other veterans’ organisations.

The traditional symbol of Remembrance Sunday are the remembrance poppies. These red paper poppies are sold by the British Legion and are typically worn on clothes or made into wreaths. The poppy symbolises a hope for a peaceful future and show support for the Armed Forces community. Its history lies on the bombed countryside of Western Europe where most of the Word War I fighting took place. These landscapes, which were previously beautiful, had turned into a barren landscape of mud. However, the bright red Flanders poppies resiliently grew amongst this chaos in their thousands. John McCrae, a Lieutenant Colonel was moved by the site of these poppies and wrote the famous ‘In Flanders Fields’ poem. The poppies were then adopted to remember those who had fallen in the war and are continually sold over 100 years later as part of the Poppy Appeal. Regardless of people’s religious or political beliefs, Remembrance Sunday is a way to come together and commemorate anyone apart of the armed forces, past and present. 

A field of poppies
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