11th November is Remembrance Day (or Veterans Day, Armistice Day or Poppy Day), an important event in many parts of the world, when many countries take time to remember the soldiers that have died in the line of duty while fighting for their country, and to pay tribute to the sacrifices they made.
This date was chosen because it is when the peace treaty between France, Germany, Britain and the USA was signed, ending World War One “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month”. Therefore, in Britain and most Commonwealth countries, a moment’s silence takes place at 11am to mark the anniversary of the exact end of the war.
While Remembrance Day began as an occasion to commemorate World War One, it is now a date to pay tribute to all soldiers who have fought in the many wars since.
Remembrance Day is often celebrated with military parades, by laying wreaths of poppies at monuments to the dead, and marches of the surviving veterans. In the UK for example, there are two different ceremonies, Remembrance Day on the 11th November, and Remembrance Sunday on the second Sunday of November. Members of the Royal Family, top politicians and public figures gather at the Cenotaph in London, along with the general public and veterans, to pay their respects in a formal ceremony.
Poppies are used as symbols of remembrance, not only because they grew in the fields of Flanders where so many soldiers died in World War One, but also because their bright red colour signifies the blood spilt in battle. Poppies are sold in the run-up to Remembrance Day by the Royal British Legion, a charity organisation for the support of servicemen and their families, with all money going to the support of the charity and the servicemen.