Remembering The War Dead

Armistice-DayQuestion: A two-minute silence has been observed across the UK to remember the nation’s war dead. What year did the Armistice begin?

Answer: 1918 – The Armistice began on the 11th November 1918 at 11am (French time).

Armistice day follows similar ceremonies on Remembrance Sunday. All across the UK people pay tribute to all those who died in World War 1, World War 2 and every other conflict since.

The Queen led commemorations on Remembrance Sunday this year, but she is spending today privately at Buckingham Palace with other members of the Royal Family.

Here are just a few of the things that the UK is doing to commemorate Armistice day this year:

  • Fields of Remembrance have been planted at Westminster Abbey, Belfast, Gateshead, Royal Wootton Basset, Inverness, Edinburgh and Cardiff
  • The only flying Mk1 Swordfish – a World War Two bomber – will drop poppies over Yeovilton, Somerset
  • The Royal British Legion is holding its yearly Silence in the Square event in Trafalgar Square with readings and musical performances. All public are being invited to place poppy petals in the fountains.
  • Services are held within the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast City Hall and the Welsh National Assembly
  • Wreaths were laid all around the Cenotaph at the Western Front Association ceremony.

The Princess Royal is at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire attending the ceremony.

The Portland stone memorial within the arboretum is beautifully designed so that on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, a shaft of sunlight dissects its inner and outer walls, falling on a bronze wreath sculpture.

Here are a few interesting facts on Armistice day:

  • The Armistice was signed in Compiègne, France in a railway carriage (approximately 37 miles from Paris). This location was chosen because it was remote and discreet.
  • World War I resulted in the deaths of more than 15 million people and an estimated 60 million people lost their lives in World War II.
  • In France, Armistice Day is a public holiday.
  • The USA observes Armistice Day as Veteran’s Day, while most Commonwealth nations including the UK and Canada refer to Armistice Day as Remembrance Day.
  • Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands do not commemorate Armistice day due to them remaining neutral during World War I.
  • The first official observance of Armistice Day took place on November 11th at Buckingham Palace.

Did you observe today’s two minute silence to mark Armistice day? Let us know in the comments section below.

2 thoughts on “Remembering The War Dead

  1. It’s so important that this tradition is continued. We should never lose sight of the horrors of war and its appalling consequences. The loss of life in those two wars was unimaginable. Two generations of young men almost wiped out. It doesn’t bear thinking about, but we must think of it. I think “lest we forget” is such a poignant and truthful motto.

  2. I think it is very important to remember these traditions and that so many people died for causes that perhaps we no longer understand but were at the time necessary. In any case remembering them is also a passage to peace in that we don’t want this kind of thing to happen again in the world. War is all to prevalent but awareness that it is something we need to avoid is also important and this helps us put the consequences of war into perspective.

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