What is Armistice Day, what time are we silent and why is it for two minutes?

November 11th, 2015

After Armistice Day, the Tower poppies were to have been removed by 8,000 volunteers

Each year at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month we remember those who fought and died for Britain.

Veterans and their families will join military top brass at The Cenotaph in Whitehall to pay their respects to those killed in conflicts since the beginning of the First World War.

“By holding a poppy to their lips they re showing the nation that they’re ready to mark the two-minute silence in Remembrance of those who laid down their lives,” say the Royal British Legion.

What will happen on November 11?

Schools, offices and churches up and down the country will take part in the two minutes silence at 11am, marking the time when Allied Forces declared an end to fighting with Germany 97 years ago.

The Gurkhas will be among regiments lining the street for the Whitehall ceremony, where singer Cerys Matthews will read an extract from The Times newspaper from October 1915 about the deaths of 41 only-sons in battle.

The Queen will spend the two minutes’ silence privately at Buckingham Palace where she will remember the war dead with her family.

Armistice Day v Remembrance Day

Armistice Day is also commonly referred to as Remembrance Day. Remembrance Sunday always falls on the second Sunday in November.

Why do we fall silent for two minutes?

A member of the armed forces with prosthetic legs pays his respects at the Armed Forces Memorial in the National Memorial Arboretum near Lichfield, Staffordshire

The first Remembrance Day in Britain and the Commonwealth was held in 1919.

Australian journalist Edward George Honey is originally thought to have proposed the idea of a two-minute silence in a letter published in the London Evening News in May 1989.

King George V later issued a proclamation calling for a two minute silence, it said: “All locomotion should cease, so that, in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead.”

Why the act of remembrance matters

Royal British Legion standard bearers and brothers Neil and Phil Bushell hold their standards following the Armistice day service at the Royal British Legion village which was attended by Defence secretary Michael Fallon in Aylesford, Kent

The Royal British Legion says: “Great Britain still believes strongly in remembering those who fought not only in World Wars, but the more than 12,000 British Servicemen and women killed or injured since 1945.

“The Royal British Legion supports silences observed during both Remembrance Sunday services and on 11 November, Armistice Day, itself. The act of Remembrance rightly has a place in – and impact on – our lives, no matter which day of the week it might fall upon.”

Why do we wear poppies?

Poppy Day is a British tradition that dates back to the 1920's

The tradition was started by American teacher Moina Bell Michael, who sold silk poppies to friends to raise money for the ex-service community, and the first poppy day in the UK was in 1921.

The poppy commemorates those who have died in war and is generally perceived as a heartfelt nod to those who lost their lives for Britain’s freedom.

In Britain, poppies are on sale to raise money for the Royal British Legion.

Which side should you wear it on?

Some people say left, so it is worn over the heart. Others say only the Queen and Royal Family are allowed to wear a poppy on the right, which is an urban myth.

But a Royal British Legion spokesman said there is no right or wrong side, “other than to wear it with pride”.

The Remembrance Poppy by numbers

Voices of Remembrance: Veterans of World War Two describe their experiences

Armistice Day has also been trending on Twitter

You can watch live as Armistice Day is marked around UK with a two minute silence.

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World War Two

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