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In the United Kingdommarker, Remembrance Sunday is the second Sunday in November, the Sunday nearest to 11 November (Armistice Day), which is the anniversary of the end of the hostilities of the First World War at 11 a.m. in 1918.

In the United Kingdom, Remembrance Sunday is marked by ceremonies at local war memorials in most cities, towns and villages, attended by civic dignitaries, ex-servicemen and -women (principally members of the Royal British Legion), members of local armed forces regular and reserve units (Royal Navy and Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marines and Royal Marines Reserve, Army and Territorial Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Auxiliary Air Force), youth organisations (e.g. Scouts and Guides), and military cadet forces (Air cadets, Army cadets and Sea cadets). Wreaths of poppies are laid on the memorials and two minutes' silence is held at 11 a.m. Church bells are usually rung "half-muffled", creating a sombre effect.

National ceremony in the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the national ceremony is held at the Cenotaph on Whitehallmarker, Londonmarker and, since 2005, also at the Women's Memorialmarker. Wreaths are laid by the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, the Princess Royal, the Duke of Kent, the Earl of Wessex, and Prince William of Wales; the Prime Minister, leaders of major political parties, the Foreign Secretary, the Commonwealth High Commissioners and representatives from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, the Merchant Navy and fishing fleets and the civilian services. Two minutes' silence is held at 11 a.m., before the laying of the wreaths. The silence represents the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, when the guns of Europe fell silent. This silence is marked by the firing of a field gun on Horse Guards Parademarker to begin and end the silence, followed by Royal Marines bugle sounding Last Post.

The event consists mainly of an extensive march past, with army bands playing live music, each year following the list of the Traditional Music of Remembrance (see below).

Other members of the British Royal Family watch from the balcony of the Foreign Officemarker.

After the ceremony, a parade of veterans, organised by the Royal British Legion, marches past the Cenotaph, each section of which lays a wreath as it passes.

Regional ceremonies in the United Kingdom

Significant ceremonies also take place in the capitals of the nations and across the regions of the United Kingdom. Most notably at the Scottish National War Memorial, in Edinburghmarker in the grounds of Edinburgh Castlemarker, the Welsh National War Memorial in Cardiff and at the Northern Ireland War Memorial and Cenotaph in Belfast in the grounds of the Belfast City Hallmarker.

Television coverage

The ceremony has been televised each year by the BBC since 1946. It is the joint-longest running live televised annual event in the world, the record being shared with the Chelsea Flower Showmarker. When first shown in 1937, it was the second ever live outside event to be broadcast, the first being the Coronation procession of George VI earlier that year.

The 1947 telerecording of the ceremony is the oldest surviving record of a broadcast of a live outside event.


The United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association maintains an ongoing campaign for the right of British overseas territories to lay a wreath in their own right at the annual service at the Cenotaph. In the past, the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom has controversially laid a wreath on behalf of all the territories.

In 2009 there was controversy because the Prime Minister Gordon Brown forgot to bow his head after laying his wreath at the Cenotaph.

Other ceremonies

From 1919 until 1945, Armistice Day; observance was then moved to Remembrance Sunday, but, since the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in 1995, it has become usual to hold ceremonies on both Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.

On Remembrance Sunday in 1987, a bomb explodedmarker by the Provisional IRA killed 11 people and injured 63 in Enniskillenmarker, Northern Irelandmarker.

In 2006, Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown proposed that in addition to Remembrance Sunday, a new national day to celebrate the achievements of veterans should be instituted. The "Veterans Day", to be held in the summer, would be similar to Veterans Day celebrations in the United States. This has now been renamed "Armed Forces Day" to include serving members, the first of which was held on 27 June 2009.

It is a custom to wear poppies on Remembrance Sunday. Paper poppies are sold in the weeks before the day by the Royal British Legion, in order to raise money to support ex-servicemen, women and families affected by war, close to home or at the opposite end of the world.

Traditional music

Each year, the programme of music at the National Ceremony remains the same, as follows:

Other pieces of music are then played during the unofficial wreath laying and the march past of the veterans, starting with Trumpet Voluntary and followed by It's A Long Way To Tipperary, the marching song of the Connaught Rangers, a famous Irish Regiment of long ago.

Outside the United Kingdom

Outside the United Kingdom, Anglican and Church of Scotlandmarker churches often have a commemorative service on Remembrance Sunday. In the Republic of Irelandmarker, there is an ecumenical service in St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublinmarker, the Church of Ireland's National Cathedral. Since 1993, the President of Ireland has attended this service.

See also


External links

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