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Lifestyle
5 min read

Remembrance Day

Yesterday on November 12th 2023, it was Remembrance Sunday in the United Kingdom. This day, which falls upon every second Sunday in November, is marked to observe the time and date when the hostility of the First World War ended.
Written by
Joanna Clare
Content Manager
Published on
November 13, 2023

Yesterday on November 12th 2023, it was Remembrance Sunday in the United Kingdom. This day, which falls upon every second Sunday in November, is marked to observe the time and date when the hostility of the First World War ended. After four years of conflict, it was estimated that around 886,000 members of the British military lost their lives in combat which equalled a staggering 6 percent of the adult male population. The heaviest loss of life in one day was during the Battle of the Somme when the British army lost 19,240 soldiers with an additional 57,470 casualties. In total throughout the world, sixty million soldiers fought with nine million being killed.

The Armistice, which was an agreement to end the fighting of the First World War or as it is sometimes referred to as the ‘Great War’, began at 11am on the 11th of November in 1918. It is because of this that Armistice Day is marked with a two minute silence at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

Yesterday was an opportunity to honour and remember the dedication of service of those who sacrificed themselves and defended our territories and freedom. This National Service of Remembrance is held at The Cenotaph in Whitehall every year and is a reminder of the British and Commonwealth soldiers, sailors and airmen and women alongside the emergency services and the countless civilians from all walks of life who gave so selflessly. The Cenotaph is a war memorial and is often referred to as an ‘empty tomb’ in honour of those who are elsewhere. It can then be filled symbolically with prayers and thoughts.

Poppies are worn during this time as a symbol of remembrance to those who have lost their lives due to conflict and terrorism around the world as well as members of the emergency services and their families. The origins come from the landscapes of the First World War where poppies grew on the battlefields once the war ended especially in the Western Front which was an area of land stretching over four hundred miles from the Vosges mountains and through France and Belgium.

Millions of poppies are sold each year with the money raised being directed towards the servicemen and women who are still with us, for those whose lives will never be the same because of war and for the countless bereaved families. All the poppies sold today are crafted by volunteers from the same factory where it all started in 1922. Today’s poppies are made from paper and plastic whereas the first poppies were made from silk by disabled ex soldiers.

Many memorial services are held up and down the country with life coming to a silent standstill at 11am on both Remembrance Sunday and Armistice or Remembrance Day after the Last Post is played. The Last Post is a well known military tradition where the bugle call signifies the end of the day's activities.

Whether you are at work or home and wherever you are or whatever you are doing, you can observe the silence and pay your respects. We live a life far moved from the era of the First World War and so much has changed since then. We are here now due to the bravery and sacrifices of our ancestors who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Huge loss and unspeakable tragedy was widespread and deeply felt within every community.

In our own families, in our working environments and with whoever we meet, we should aim to instill a sense of gratitude for all the opportunities and freedoms we so often take for granted and complain about. Let us strive to show our family, friends, colleagues and indeed strangers the respect, support and empathy that the soldiers from all different walks of life showed to one another and appreciate the unique efforts that each person contributes, bringing out the best in everyone and never allowing anyone to struggle alone. Let us never shy away from challenges of any sort, always show openness, understanding, kindness, compassion and unity. Everyone is both a fallen soldier and a hero in their own way.

They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them

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