They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
From For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon
Every year Remembrance Day unites people of all faiths, cultures, and backgrounds to honour those who have sacrificed themselves to secure our freedom.
As we pay our respects for the armed forces and their volunteers this Remembrance Day, no matter where we hail from in the Commonwealth, the chances are that one of our ancestors played their part – whether on the front line, as nurses or factory workers.
How will you remember them this year?
Read our guide for a snapshot of events where you can:
- Learn more about the history of our wars
- Find out about events near you
- Trace your relatives and pay tribute to them
Events Across the UK
National Service of Remembrance, The Cenotaph, London
On Sunday 10 November 2019, the annual National Service of Remembrance will be held at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London.
Events commence with the customary ceremony, followed by the March Past, as up to 10,000 veterans walk by the Cenotaph to pay their respects.
From 11 am bells will ring out in cities, towns and villages across the UK and worldwide as they did 101 years ago at the end of the First World War.
A number of wreaths – including one by Prince Charlies – will also be laid at the monument during the service, which will last around 25 minutes.
Ex-service Associations can register their interest to take part in the Cenotaph Parade by emailing Cenotaph@britishlegion.org.uk.
Coverage will start on BBC One from 10:20.
Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, London
As well as the Armistice of World War I, 2019 also marks the 75th anniversaries of the great battles of 1944 and 100 years since the formation of GCHQ. The Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall has chosen these themes for their annual concert, and will “remember the men and women from so many different nations, cultures, religions and communities who came together and stood shoulder to shoulder to defend our freedom and way of life.” The event will take place on Remembrance Sunday, 9th November, between 2 – 7 pm.
The event is now sold out, however, you can view the concert on BBC One, and the programme will be presented by Huw Edwards.
Wales’ National Field of Remembrance, Cardiff Castle, Cardiff
It is one of six sites created by the Royal British Legion every November as a tribute to those who have passed serving in the UK’s armed forces.
More than 120,000 tributes with poppies have been planted across the sites with around 5,000 in Cardiff alone. That number is expected to grow, with the field open to the public until 25 November.
Each poppy carries a personal message to someone who has lost their life in the forces.
Stone of Remembrance, City Chambers, Edinburgh
Members of the public are invited to join the Lord Provost, representatives from the Scottish Government, UK Government and the Armed Forces and Veterans community to remember our fallen at 1100 hours on Sunday 10 November 2019.
Military Detachments, Bands and Veterans Detachment, including Standard Bearers will form upon the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle.
The Veterans Detachment, led by the Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland will step off and march to the Stone of Remembrance.
All are invited to the service in St. Giles’ Cathedral immediately after the ceremony.
This event is free and those Tri-Service / Regimental Associations wishing to take part in the parade are requested to notify firstname.lastname@example.org
In France, this day is called Armistice de la Première Guerre mondiale. As an official public holiday, schools, banks, offices and most shops are closed. In common with many other countries, the day is marked by one minute of silence at 11:00.
Place Charles-de-Gaulle in Paris is one of the most popular places to honour the lives of those who have fought during past wars. This usually busy Parisian road comes to a standstill during the annual military parade, where soldiers and ex-soldiers march up and around the Arc de Triomphe, where they lay wreaths and fly the flags of the countries involved.
Despite the building being badly damaged by fire in April 2019, there will also be a special service in Notre Dame Cathedral after the parade.
Remembrance Day is called ‘Veterans Day’ in the USA, though still falling on the 11th November and is a public holiday for the general population.
Like us, the anniversary marks the signing of the armistice, which ended World War I hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany in 1918.
In 1919, President Wilson proclaimed the day should be “filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory,” and plans were made for parades and a suspension of business activities at 11 am.
In 1926, the United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I and declared that the anniversary of the armistice should be commemorated with prayer and thanksgiving.
Celebrated in a variety of ways, a notable annual Veterans Day parade takes place on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, New York, with over 500,000 attendees.
Across the country, many restaurants and fast-food chains offer free meals to veterans.
Further Options for Paying Your Own Tribute
Find out more about your ancestors in the armed forces or arrange a visit some of the historic battle sites, using these great websites to get you started…
- The Imperial War Museum has set up a digital memorial for those who served in World War I from Britain and the Commonwealth. You can track down your relatives and build their life stories using pictures and documents. There is lots of advice too to aid you in your search
- This Royal British Legion and Commonwealth War Graves Commission initiative remembers the men and women from Britain and the Commonwealth who died. You can search for a relative or someone from your area to commemorate and leave a dedication for them
- This database lists men and women of both world wars from the UK and Commonwealth who lie in the CWGC’s lovingly tended cemeteries across the globe. It’s easy to search and if you find your relative why not plan a trip to lay flowers at their graveside?
- Walk in the footsteps of heroes, possibly including your own family members, by taking a tour of the battlefields with a specialist operator. There are more than 70 to choose from and they range from escorted holidays to day trips. Alternatively, you could always do the research and organise your own itinerary