Lest We Forget – Remembrance Day

Despite the hype of the Double Eleventh Festival that boosted our desire to shop, we shall not forget the sacrifices people have made for the peace we have today.

Remembrance Day falls on the 11th of November each year, it is a day to honor the armed forces who served to defend their country. On the 11th day of the 11th month, a minute of silence is dedicated to those who were sacrificed in World War I.

Red poppy flowers on crosses in memorials (Photo credit Chris Sansbury/unsplash)

Back in November 1918, the Germans called for an armistice, in order to secure a peace settlement. They accepted the allied terms of surrender thus putting an end to the war. This attained a special significance in the post-war years and later became associated with remembering those who had died in the event.

The day originated from Armistice Day, on November 11th, 1919, which was dedicated in Great Britain to commemorate the first anniversary of the peace agreement that ended World War I.

King George V of Britain requested that the country pause in silence for two minutes in acknowledgement of the war’s fatalities. Thereafter a period of silence became the centrepiece of Armistice Day events that occurred annually until the outbreak of World War II in 1939.

Remembrance Day is observed across nations, with particular recognition in the Commonwealth states. It is mostly regarded in the United Kingdom as it is where Armistice Day was first observed at Buckingham Palace. Ceremonies and memorials were held across the country on that very day.

Front view of Buckingham Palace, (Photo credit: Mike Marrah/unsplash)

According to A Guide to Commemorative Services – Veterans Affairs Canada, the service of Remembrance in many Commonwealth countries generally includes the sounding of the “Last Post”, followed by the period of silence, followed by the sounding of “Reveille” or sometimes just “The Rouse”. The Service of Remembrance is finished with a recitation of the “Ode of Remembrance”. The “Flowers of the Forest”, “O Valiant Hearts”, “I Vow to Thee, My Country” and “Jerusalem” are often played during the service. Services also include wreaths laid to honor the fallen, blessings, and national anthems.

“I think remembrance is a big occasion here compared to Hong Kong. There are actual moments of silence observed and more flowers sold around the city.” Cartman Tai, a student from Hong Kong studying in London.

A poppy flower is seen on a truck in London. (Photo credit: Yamily Peng)

The red poppy flower is the most recognizable symbol for Remembrance Day, it became an emblem for World War I memorials as the flowers were seen blooming in the former battlefields located in Belgium and Northern France. Since then, it has become a tradition to display the red poppy at memorial sites and for people to wear them as a show of respect.

A field of red poppy flowers (Photo credit Adam Jones/unsplash)

Below is a timeline of the main events that occurred during World War I.

Lest We Forget.

Featured image by David Clode/unsplash.com

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