Remembrance Day – also known as Poppy Day or Armistice Day (the event it commemorates) or Veterans Day – is a Commonwealth holiday (observed in all Commonwealth countries except Mozambique) 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 11th November to recall the end of World War I on that date in 1918 (major hostilities of World War I were formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice). The day was specifically dedicated by King George V, on 7th November 1919, to the observance of members of the armed forces who were killed during war.
In the United Kingdom, although two minutes of silence are observed on 11th 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. Further wreath-laying ceremonies are observed at most war memorials across the UK at 11 am on the 11th of November, led by the Royal British Legion. The beginning and end of the two minutes silence is often marked in large towns and cities by the firing of ceremonial cannon and many employers, and businesses invite their staff and customers to observe the two minutes silence at 11:00 am.
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