Armistice Day - Remembrance Day - The Forgotten Heroes
Remembrance Sunday, 9th of November 2003
National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London.
The Cenotaph ceremony was first held in 1921 as a unique expression of national homage devoted to the remembrance of those who gave their lives during the First World War. It was originally conceived as a commemoration of the war dead of the United Kingdom, the Empire (and subsequently the Commonwealth) and the British territories overseas.
After the Second World War the scope of the ceremony was extended to focus on the nation's dead of both World Wars, and in 1980 it was widened once again to extend the remembrance to all who have suffered and died in conflict in the service of their country and all those who mourn them.
The service at the Cenotaph is framed to ensure that no-one is forgotten. The wreath laid by The Queen and the other tributes placed on the Cenotaph are dedicated to all who have suffered and died in war. Members of the Cabinet, Opposition Party leaders, former Prime Ministers and certain other Ministers and the Mayor of London are invited to attend the ceremony by the Lord Chancellor on behalf of the Cabinet, along with representatives of the Armed Forces, Merchant Air and Navy and Fishing Fleets, civilian services and members of faith communities. High Commissioners from Commonwealth countries also attend the ceremony and lay wreaths at the Cenotaph. To watch the ceremony it is essential to be in place well in advance. The assembly of the military and other participants begins at about 10.00 a.m.; Commonwealth High Commissioners and politicians join at around 1040 and the Royal Family, led by HM The Queen are in position just before 11.00 a.m.
The Service and wreath-laying last about 25 minutes, after which the Royal Family, politicians and High Commissioners depart.
Wreath laying by leaders of the principal ex-Service organizations then takes place, followed by the march past of some 10,000 ex-Service men and women. They are followed by a contingent from London Buses (To mark the use of London buses and drivers as troop transport in France during WWI) and other civilian groups, making the parade representative of the whole nation and the Commonwealth.
Two Minute Silence - November 11th at 11.00am
The Royal British Legion strongly supports and will always put its full weight behind the traditional Remembrance Sunday services and the customary Two-Minute Silence. The Legion, the national custodian of Remembrance, founded among other reasons to ensure that... "we will remember them"...believes that it is entirely appropriate that Remembrance should be brought into the everyday life of the Nation on 11th November, whatever day of the week that may be. Support from industry, commerce, institutions and from all walks of life is substantial and the Legion is calling for this to happen again in 2003.Remembrance transcends all boundaries. The Legion is seeking a small yet significant individual and collective act, a rare moment when the Nation can stand together and reflect on the price of freedom. That price is still being paid. More than 12,000 British Servicemen and women have been killed or injured on active service since 1945."If we are to maintain our peace and freedom we must always remember".