Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance Sunday
Royal British Legion's Paper Poppy - white background.jpg
The poppy is worn around the time of Remembrance Sunday (traditionally from All Souls' Day (2 November) until the later of; Remembrance Day (11 November) or Remembrance Sunday)
Official nameRemembrance Sunday
Observed byUnited Kingdom
Liturgical Color(Red or green)
ObservancesParades, silences
DateSecond Sunday in November
2017 dateNovember 12  (2017-11-12)
2018 dateNovember 11  (2018-11-11)
2019 dateNovember 10  (2019-11-10)
2020 dateNovember 8  (2020-11-08)
Frequencyannual
Related toRemembrance Day and Armistice Day

Remembrance Sunday is held in the United Kingdom as a day "to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts".[1] It is held at 11 a.m. on the second Sunday in November (the Sunday nearest to 11 November, Armistice Day,[2] the anniversary of the end of hostilities in the First World War in 1918).

It is marked by ceremonies at local war memorials in most cities, towns and villages, attended by civic dignitaries, ex-servicemen and -women (many are members of the Royal British Legion and other veterans' organisations), 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), military cadet forces (Sea Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Force and Air Training Corps as well as the Combined Cadet Force) and youth organisations (e.g. Scouts, Boys' Brigade, Girls' Brigade and Guides). Wreaths of remembrance 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. The service is held for about two hours.

History

The focus of remembrance for the dead of the First World War originally fell on Armistice Day itself, commencing in 1919. As well as the National Service in London, events were staged at town and village war memorials, often featuring processions of civic dignitaries and veterans.[3] During the Second World War, the commemorations were moved to the Sunday preceding 11 November as an emergency measure to avoid disruption of the production of vital war materials. In May 1945, just before VE Day, the new government began consultation with the churches and the British Legion on the future of remembrance. Armistice Day in 1945 actually fell on a Sunday, avoiding the need to change the wartime practice. Some thought that to continue with the 11 November would focus more on the First World War and downplay the importance of the Second. Other dates suggested were 8 June (VE Day), 6 June (D-Day), 15 August (VJ Day), 3 September (the declaration of war), and even 15 June (the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215). The Archbishop of Westminster proposed that the second Sunday in November should be named Remembrance Sunday in commemoration of both World Wars, a suggestion which was endorsed by the Home Office in January 1946. In June of that year, the prime minister, Clement Attlee, announced in the House of Commons that "the Government felt that this view would commend itself to all quarters of the country. I am glad to say that it has now found general acceptance here and has been approved by The King" (being George VI).[4]