Today, November 10, politicians, members of the Royal Family and veterans have gathered for the annual Remembrance Sunday service.
The Royals – including Harry, Meghan, William and Kate – lead the tributes at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.
To mark the day, here’s a reminder of wars we remember on Remembrance Day and why we wear poppies.
Is Remembrance Day for WW1 or WW2?
Armistice Day, aka Remembrance Day, and Remembrance Sunday are actually two different things.
Remembrance Day commemorates the end of the First World War.
Famously, it’s marked on the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour – with an 11am silence being observed around the country.
Remembrance Sunday is different.
On this day, there are ceremonies at memorials, cenotaphs and churches throughout the country as well as abroad as people come together to remember people who have served in all wars.
This includes World War Two, the Falklands War, the Gulf War, and more recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Why do we hold a Remembrance Day silence?
The first nationwide silence in Britain was held on 11 November 1919 – one year after World War One – when King George V asked to observe a silence at 11am.
He made the request so thoughts could be focused on the ‘reverent remembrance of the glorious dead.’
Why is the poppy used as the symbol for Remembrance Day?
Poppies are worn to remember those who have given their lives in battle because they are the flowers that grew on the battlefields after the end of the First World War.
John McCrae, a serving soldier in World War One who lost his life in the conflict, captured the imagery of the poppy fields in the famous poem, In Flanders Fields.
The poem ends with the lines:
‘If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.’
Since the end of the First World War, poppies have come to be a symbol of remembering all those who have died serving their country.
People started wearing a poppy after the Royal British Legion was founded in May 1921.
Poppies were made of silk back then and the Legion sold out of them leading to a factory being set up in 1922 where disabled former soldiers could make more poppies.
The traditional red poppy has also had a – sometimes controversial – reimagining.
Some people might choose to wear a white poppy, to commemorate the lives lost while advocating for peace.
There are other coloured poppies that can be worn too, like purple to honour animals who died.
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