Remembrance Sunday, November 11, coincides with a very special anniversary this year – the centenary of the Armistice, when the guns fell silent on the battlefields of the First World War.
At 11am, a two minute silence will be held to remember those who served, suffered and sacrificed in war and the line of duty. Before the nation falls silent, the ode of Remembrance is read aloud: We will remember them.
Generations of people too young to remember those who died, or even the veterans who survived, will be keeping their memory alive this Remembrance Sunday and in the years to come.
Since July 2014, when the first events were held to mark the centenary of the beginning of the First World War, community projects, national acts of remembrance, art installations and more have inspired people, young and old, to find out more about the lives behind the names carved on the nation’s war memorials.
For some, it’s been a chance to discover more about someone from their own family history, while others have learned about a stranger, once much-loved by their own family, from an old photo, letter or local history.
In many towns and cities, silhouettes of soldiers have been installed that remind us of the men and boys who fought. Director Peter Jackson’s colourised footage from the front in his film They Shall Not Grow Old is a vividly moving reminder of just how like us were the people upon whom the nation called to serve.
Among the special tributes taking place to mark the Armistice’s centenary is Pages of the Sea. It’s an open invitation from film director Danny Boyle for people to gather on one of more than 30 UK beaches on Sunday 11 November to say goodbye and – and thank you – to the millions of those who left our shores to serve and never returned home.
Thousands of people have already added the names and photos of people on the Pages of the Sea website. You can add a photo of your own, or search for a name and say goodbye.
We will remember them
A huge portrait of one of these people will be drawn in the sand on each beach on Sunday morning, before the incoming tides wash them away.
Danny said that he’d initially envisaged the project would be a literal line in the sand, marking a point at which the nation could move on. But he found that the life stories that the project’s uncovered have inspired a feeling of personal connections and that it is important to continue keeping their memory alive.
This year, the National Service of Remembrance in London will see 10,000 members of the public play a part in the traditional walk past of the nation’s war memorial The Cenotaph, where the remembrance wreaths are laid. The Nation’s Thank You Procession will follow the walk past by the 10,000 military and civilian service veterans.
Across the UK, communities with be gathering at places of worship and war memorials in cities, towns and villages, to lay wreaths and pay their respects. Thousands have included their events on a special website to mark the centenary, armistice100.org.uk, which you can find on an interactive map or with a postcode search.
The nation will fall silent at 11am on Remembrance Day, with the traditional two minute silence held to honour the dead.
It's respectful to pause what you are doing and be still and quiet, whether as a gesture of remembrance, or consideration for other people observing the silence.
As part of the centenary Thank You to those who served, bells will then ring out, reflecting the spontaneous peals of celebration that began when news of the Armistice arrived.
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.