Remembrance Sunday falls in November every year, giving the nation a chance to honour Britain’s war dead.
As well as the wearing of poppies, it is traditionally marked with wreath-laying, memorial ceremonies and periods of silent reflection around the UK, although last year’s events were disrupted by Covid-19.
When is Remembrance Sunday 2021?
Remembrance Sunday always falls on the second weekend of November, which means this year’s memorial takes place on Sunday 14 November.
This comes alongside the commemorations that take place every year on 11 November, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that marked the end of the First World War in 1918.
The first official celebrations on the date were held by King George V at Buckingham Palace in 1919, when he hosted Raymond Poincaré, the President of France.
Armistice Day is marked by all nations of the Commonwealth, while many other countries mark the anniversary as a day of memorial.
Traditionally, a one- or two-minute silence is held at 11am, recognising the precise time that the hostilities ceased in 1918 – the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
What was the First World War Armistice?
The Armistice was signed by representatives of the Allies and Germany, declaring an end to the First World War with the cessation of hostilities on land, sea and air.
By the end of September 1918, the German high command had largely recognised that their military prospects had become hopeless.
They began to negotiate peace with the allies on 5 October, by sending a message to US President Woodrow Wilson, who had proposed “Fourteen Points” for peace at the start of 1918.
Despite a late change of heart by the influential General Erich Ludendorff, any appetite for battle had escape the shattered German army after four years of gruelling conflict.
The Allies began discussing a truce on 5 November, although the European powers were generally opposed to President Wilson’s Fourteen Points, considering them idealistic.
An agreement was eventually agreed upon at 5am on 11 November, to come into effect at 11am Paris time.
Although it marked the end of all hostilities, the nations were officially involved in a state of war for seven more months, until the signing of the controversial Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919.
What are the main Remembrance Sunday events?
In London, a national memorial ceremony takes place at the Cenotaph on Whitehall on Remembrance Sunday every year.
Royal Marine buglers sound “The Last Post” and wreaths are laid by members of the Royal Family, political party leaders, significant military figures and civilians.
A short religious service, included a two-minute silence is followed by a march-past including hundreds of military veterans.
The Royal British Legion also holds an annual Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall to honour those who served for Britain and the Commonwealth.
This year’s event is taking place on Saturday 13 November, with performances at 2pm and 7pm.
Outside the capital, most British cities hold events commemorating Remembrance Sunday, generally taking place at war memorials or public spaces and including parades, silent reflection and readings.
Why do we wear poppies to mark Remembrance Day?
The poppy has been a prominent symbol of remembrance for almost a century, with millions of commemorative flowers produced every year to pay tribute to Britain’s war dead.
Its origins lie in the opening lines of war poem In Flanders Fields by Canadian officer John McCrae, first published in December 1915: “In Flanders fields the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row”.
The flower was adopted as a symbol by the newly-formed Royal British Legion, a charity established to provide support for members and veterans of the British Armed Forces and their families.
The appeal has grown from manufacturing poppies in a room above a shop in Bermondsey, south London to a facility in Richmond where 50 ex-servicemen and women work all year round producing tens of millions of the symbolic flowers.
Outside the UK, poppies are predominantly worn in Commonwealth nations such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, and are also used to a lesser extent in the US.Internet Explorer Channel Network