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Remembrance Day

Summary:
When the armistice that officially ended the First World War came into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the anniversary was originally commemorated as Armistice Day, marking a time of tribute to and a remembering of those who died in that war. On November 11th, 1919, one year after the war's end, King George V asked the public to observe two minutes of silence at 11am. He asked that "the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead."Following the Second World War, the day is now commemorated as Remembrance Day, though many of the ceremonies now take place on Remembrance Sunday, a day off work for most people that gives a chance to participate for those who wish. It now honours and remembers all members of the armed forces

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When the armistice that officially ended the First World War came into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the anniversary was originally commemorated as Armistice Day, marking a time of tribute to and a remembering of those who died in that war.

On November 11th, 1919, one year after the war's end, King George V asked the public to observe two minutes of silence at 11am. He asked that "the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead."

Following the Second World War, the day is now commemorated as Remembrance Day, though many of the ceremonies now take place on Remembrance Sunday, a day off work for most people that gives a chance to participate for those who wish. It now honours and remembers all members of the armed forces who died in the two World Wars, and in subsequent military and naval actions.

Most analysts think, with hindsight, that the First World War was not fought appropriately, and some think it should not have been fought at all. Leaders on both sides greatly underestimated the destructive firepower of modern weaponry. It is a source of regret that they did so, because there was an example they might have learned from. The US Civil War of 1861-65 had shown what artillery and modern firearms could do, and left over 600,000 dead. Had European leaders and generals taken more interest in its course, they might have learned its lessons.

The few commentators who think the UK should not have fought World War II seem to overlook the probability that Hitler might well have succeeded in conquering Soviet Russia if he had not had Britain and America to deal with. Had he done so, the horror of Nazi death camps would almost certainly have been even more widespread. They overlook, too, the fact that Japan would have drawn the UK into a far East war by attacking the British Empire there as it did US territories and bases. As it was, took two intercontinental powers to overcome a Germany that was a small country by comparison. And it took atomic bombs to bring Japan to surrender.

We remember their sacrifice and we honour those who died, not least because they enabled us to enjoy the freedom we have today. They fought off our enemies. Since then it was our armed forces in NATO that enabled us to resist Soviet aggression and prevent all Europe falling under a malevolent tyranny. It is our forces today who protect us from attack by being equipped and ready to strike back. Their readiness to fight for us deters those who might otherwise invade or undermine our interests.

Wars, they tell us, are often slipped into by uncertainty, by people thinking there is a chance that the other side will not respond. It is a tribute to those who died that we keep the peace they won, and stand ready to fight, as they did, to secure it.

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