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Remembrance Day will soon be here, and with it a number of commemoration events to remember the fallen. Normally an army of volunteers works round the clock to make the celebration special for veterans, troops in service, families and younger generations alike. However, this year, the coronavirus pandemic is sure to make things a little bit different.
When is Remembrance Day?
Remembrance Day, always on a Sunday, falls on the second Sunday of the month closest to November 11. This year’s Remembrance Sunday will take place on November 8.
The First World War officially ended on the eleventh hour of November 11 (11/11) in 1919, after the armistice was signed between combatting countries.
The first official Armistice Day celebrations were held by King George V at Buckingham Palace in 1919.
Today, the event is commemorated and observed by all nations in the Commonwealth, while a number of other countries mark the anniversary as a day of memorial.
How do you celebrate it in the UK?
Remembrance Sunday is normally celebrated with an annual service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall, Central London.
This year the event will go ahead, although it will be closed to members of the public for the first time in history.
As usual, the ceremony will take place at 11am.
A limited number of people, including armed force veterans, members of the royal family and international leaders, will be allowed to attend the service.
The large annual march past the memorial has also been cancelled this year, but some veterans will be invited to attend the “Covid-secure” service.
Another way of commemorating the event is with a period of national silence held in the morning.
This year, the British public are being urged to take part in the two-minute silence from their homes at 11am on Remembrance Sunday.
All national events for Remembrance Sunday have been cancelled, although local community events can still go ahead as long as the appropriate safety measures are adhered to.
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The Government says local events should comply with social distancing rules and restrictions on the number of people allowed to meet outside.
The official guidance says all gatherings involving more than six people “will need to be organised by a business, a charitable benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body”.
In Wales, Remembrance Sunday coincides with the “firebreak” lockdown recently implemented by the country.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said small-scale Remembrance Sunday events organised by local authorities and the British Legion would be allowed to go ahead as a special exemption.
The Royal British Legion is encouraging people to get involved in Remembrance Day in their own, personal ways.
The Legion wrote: “Despite the changes this year, we are encouraging people across the nations to ensure Remembrance Sunday is still marked appropriately by taking part in remote and social distanced Remembrance activity, whether that be watching the service on television or pausing for the two-minute silence in their home or on their doorstep.”
Veterans minister Johnny Mercer said everything would be done to commemorate the fallen in the “correct way”, but added the pandemic was a “really good opportunity” for people to remember in their own home.
Mr Mercer said: “Now you saw how we celebrated VE Day and VJ Day and things like that this year, using social distancing and adjusting to the pandemic and actually, it’s a really good opportunity for people to remember in their own homes and take a bit of time just to do things a little bit differently.”
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