On Monday November 11th 1918 at 11am in the morning the First World War ended. It was the eleventh hour of the eleventh day on the eleventh month and was later to be named Armistice Day. From that point on, the Armistice Day anniversary was marked every year and shortly after the Second World War ended it was renamed to Remembrance Day in honour of all who had died in war.
Remembrance Day is traditionally celebrated so that people remember the armed forces who died for their country. However there are several nations who are not members of the Commonwealth who also mark this day including countries such as France, Belgium and Poland.
There is also Remembrance Sunday which is celebrated on the second Sunday in November and on this day people remember all who died in wars including the Second World War and other conflicts such as the Gulf War and the Falklands War to name a couple. In the UK the Royal Family gather for a national memorial which is aired on television. State officials attend along with Veterans, diplomatic representatives and the general public.
In later years Remembrance Day became known as Poppy Day and it is common to see people wearing a poppy in their buttonhole to mark the day. The wearing of poppies came from the poem Flanders Fields written by John McCrae in May 1915. The following lines are from his poem.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below
The London Evening News published a letter on 8th May 1919 written by an Australian journalist called Edward George Honey. Mr. Honey proposed a two minute silence to remember the men who had died for their country in the First World War. The letter was brought to the attention of King George V and subsequently the King issued a proclamation calling for a two minute silence saying:
“All locomotion should cease, so that, in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead.”