At 11am today the United Kingdom, along with the majority of their allied nations, will observe a two minute silence to remember the 20 million (approximately) that fell during World War I. An exception is Italy, which observes this day on November 4th, as the day of ‘Armistice of Vialla Giusti. The Netherlands, Denmark and Norway do not commemorate this as they remained neutral throughout.
The first Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day as it is commonly known, was held in Buckingham Palace on November 10th 1919. Hosted by King George V, the ‘Banquet in Honour of the President of the French Republic’ was held on the evening of the 10th before hosting the Armistice Day ceremony on 11th November 1919. This started a tradition that still lives on today.
Originally a national holiday, the two minute silence was moved to the Sunday nearest to November 11thin 1939. So it won’t interfere with wartime production if it should fall on a weekday. After World War II, most Armistice Day was held to remember both World Wars. The name was subsequently changed to Remembrance Sunday.
In the UK thousands attend the 11am ceremony at the Cenotaph in London. This event is organized by The Western Front Association. A British charity that is dedicated to perpetuating the memory of those who served in the war.