Remembrance Day: Why is the two-minute silence held?

11 November 2021, 09:17 | Updated: 15 November 2021, 17:27

Remembrance Day celebrates those who have served for the country.
Remembrance Day celebrates those who have served for the country. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Armistice Day, also known as Remembrance Day, celebrated its 103rd anniversary this year.

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The occasion marks the signing of the armistice in 1918 - an agreement that saw the end of fighting in the First World War - ahead of negotiations.

It will be followed later in the week by Remembrance Sunday, which will falls this year on 14 November, with the annual two-minute silences set to take place.

What time is the two-minute silence?

The silence will take place at 11am on Thursday, marking the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

Another two-minute silence also takes place at the same time (11am) on Remembrance Sunday.

Why is it held?

The event is held to remember those in the UK and Commonwealth who have served in the armed forces as well as their families.

It celebrates the vital role they played, both serving and sacrificing themselves for the country.

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The National Memorial Arboretum will broadcast an annual Service of Remembrance from the Armed Forces Memorial.
The National Memorial Arboretum will broadcast an annual Service of Remembrance from the Armed Forces Memorial. Picture: Alamy

What events are taking place to mark the occasion?

On Armistice Day, the National Memorial Arboretum is set to broadcast an annual Service of Remembrance, live from the Armed Forces Memorial. 

It will be followed by the National Service of Remembrance on Sunday, being held at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London.

The service is a "physical reminder"of sacrifices made by those who have served for the country, the British Legion has said.

The Queen is expected to attend, along with members of the cabinet, former Prime Ministers, the Mayor of London and other ministers.

There will also be representatives from the armed forces, fishing fleets and the navy, among others.

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The Poppy Appeal is an annual fundraising campaign.
The Poppy Appeal is an annual fundraising campaign. Picture: Alamy

What is the Poppy Appeal?

The Poppy Appeal is an annual fundraising campaign from the British Legion, held during the period of remembrance.

It made its return this year, after face-to-face collections were paused in 2020 due to the pandemic.

What is the significance of the poppy?

As a symbol of remembrance, the poppy has played a key part in the memorial day since the First World War.

Inspiration came from a poem called In Flanders Field, which spoke of poppies that had grown on Western Front battlefields following the devastation.

It came after the fields had been churned up into mud, with nothing else able to grow in the conditions.

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