Blog Article

The origins of Remembrance Sunday

The origins of Remembrance Sunday

Date: 8th November 2022

Remembrance Sunday is a holiday observed on the second Sunday of November in the UK, and this year, will fall on November 13th. Remembrance Day has its origins in Armistice Day, first dedicated on November 11th, 1919, to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, and to acknowledge the wartime fatalities.  

As part of the commemoration, a minute's silence is held at 11am on this day, originally at the request of King George V. This became a regular tradition annually in the UK until the outbreak of World War II in 1939, when celebrations were not held on November 11th, but instead was observed on a proximate Sunday.  

Following the conclusion of World War II, the British government looked to honour the participants of both World Wars, and officially replaced Armistice Day with Remembrance Sunday.  

Remembrance Sunday was then fixed as the second Sunday of the month of November in 1956, and is recognised by the symbol of the red poppy. The red poppy has now become a universal symbol of Remembrance Day, and originated when poppy flowers bloomed in the former battlefields of World War I in Belgium and France, a phenomenon that was depicted in the popular 1915 poem “In Flanders Fields,” by Canadian soldier John McCrae. “In Flanders Fields” famously begins with the line “In Flanders fields the poppies blow. Between the crosses, row on row” - a reference to the graves of the fallen soldiers.  

The symbol of the red poppy was also embraced by the Royal British Legion who sell red paper poppies that are pinned to clothing in support of the Poppy Appeal. In addition, wreaths of poppies are also frequently placed at memorial sites as a gesture of support.  

Today, Remembrance Sunday is an opportunity to remember all those that have defended our freedoms and protected our way of life. Remembrance events are just one of the ways we can help to ensure the sacrifices of those who served are never forgotten.  

Remembrance Sunday is also celebrated on November 11th in other countries, such as the United States (Veterans Day), Australia, Canada and France.  

For more information on local events or how to get involved, please click here  

At My Story Told, we hope to turn your personal history into a written document for future generations to share, enjoy, and celebrate your life. For more information on our process, contact us here. 

If you are looking to document your ancestry, or to share your own life story, you may want to access military records through the UK Government. You can apply for either: 

  • your own service records if you are, or have been, a member of the armed forces 
  • the records of someone who’s deceased if you’re eligible, for example you’re their immediate next of kin or you’re researching them 

You can also search: 

  • the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website 
  • the Armed Forces Memorial roll of honour 
  • the National Archives 

For more information on the above, visit the UK Government website.