Britain remembers the fallen on Armistice Day

Two-minute silences take place each year in Britain on 11 November as the country remembers fallen soldiers of World War I on the date the armistice was signed.

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The Royal British Legions red poppies © Wikipedia

The silence is an annual ritual, taking place at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, which is the exact time the guns fell silent along the Western Front in 1918.

The Royal British Legion is the national custodian of remembrance and holds its own event each year.

Poppies are typically worn as a sign of remembrance at this time of year. The small red flower was one of few plant species to grow around the bodies of fallen soldiers in Europe throughout the bitter battles of the World War I. The poppy was mentioned in Canadian surgeon John McCrae’s poem, In Flanders Fields. It was adopted by the Royal British Legion as the symbol of their annual poppy appeal in 1921.

In 2013 the Queen lead the tributes at a Remembrance Sunday service at the Whitehall Cenotaph, central London, where she laid a wreath of red poppies. Thousands of people joined in a two-minute silence at Whitehall, which started as Big Ben chimed the 11th hour in. Her Majesty was joined by her husband, Prince Philip, and her grandsons, Princes William and Harry.

One of the largest services that took place was at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Dorothy Ellis, 93, is thought to be the last surviving widow of a World War I veteran. She joined senior representatives of the armed forces at this beautiful garden – a living centre of remembrance.

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