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Remembrance Day (Poppy Day)

Remembrance Day* is observed throughout Britain in commemoration of the million or more British soldiers, sailors and airmen who lost their lives during the two World Wars. On that day special services are held Jn the churches and wreaths are laid at war memorials throughout the country and at London's Cenotaph,** where a great number of people gather to observe the two-minute silence and to perform the annual Remembrance Day ceremony. The silence begins at the first stroke of Big Ben booming 11 o'clock, and is broken only by the crash of distant artillery and perhaps by the murmur of a passing jet. When the two-minute silence is over, members of the Royal Family or their representatives and political leaders come forward to lay wreaths at the foot of the Cenotaph. Then comes the march past the memorial of exservicemen and women, followed by an endless line of ordinary citizens who have come here with their personal wreaths and their sad memories.

* (In the First World War, the armistice sought by Germany from the Allies, came into force Nov. 11, 1918, and ended all fighting in that war. During 1919-38 the date Nov. 11 was kept as Armistice Day, when two minutes' silence was observed throughout the British Commonwealth, starting at 11 a. m. The ceremony lapsed during the Second World War, but was resumed in 1945. The following year it was decided to observe a Remembrance Day for both World Wars, to be held annually on the Sunday before Nov. 11, unless either Nov. 11 or 12 was itself a Sunday.)

** (A war memorial in Whitehall, London, commemorating the dead of the two World Wars/)

On that day artificial poppies, a symbol of mourning, are traditionally sold in the streets everywhere, and people wear them in their button-holes. The money collected in this way is later used to help the men who had been crippled during the war and their dependants.

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