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A Guide to Remembrance Day 2017

Remembrance poppies on memorial wall

November 11 marks the day when Australians honour those who have served, fought and sacrificed for the nation.

This year marks the 99th anniversary of the Armistice and the signing of a treaty on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, which ended the hostilities of First World War. November 11 was known as Armistice Day until the end of the Second World War, when it was renamed Remembrance Day in order to commemorate those killed in later conflicts.

This year, a new two dollar coin has been minted to pay honour to the Australian men and women who have died or suffered in war or armed conflicts.

laying down a wreath

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day commemorates the signing of the armistice on November 11 1918, which ended the fighting of the Great War. The Treaty of Versailles, signed in June 1919, formally declared peace.

Australia’s Remembrance Day National Ceremony which takes place at the Parade Grounds of the Australian War Memorial, in Campbell, ACT, includes a formal wreath laying that will be attended by many high-level dignitaries and diplomats. Australia’s Federation Guard and the Band of the Royal Military College, Duntroon will be on parade during the ceremony. Tickets are available to the general public online.

The ceremony takes place in the following order:

  1. A catafalque party is mounted at the memorial as a sign of respect to those who have given their lives in defence of Australia

  2. A prayer, reading or poem is read followed by the commemorative address before the wreath laying

  3. The Ode:

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.

Those assembled respond: We will remember them.

  1. The Last Post: All flags are lowered to half mast. While the Last Post is bugled, all members of the public should be standing and hats should be removed

  2. Two Minute Silence at 11am

  3. The Rouse: the flag is returned to the masthead.

  4. The National Anthem is sung and the catafalque party dismounts

As a mark of respect to the men and women of the Australian Defence Force who have sacrificed their lives, all Australians are encouraged to stop what they are doing, wherever they are, at 11am to observe the minutes’ silence and reflect on the loss caused by war.

What is the difference between Remembrance Day and ANZAC day?

Remembrance Day commemorates the signing of the armistice between the Allies and Germany at the end of The Great War in 1918 and is now held to remember all those who have fought or lost their lives in conflict.

ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) Day, is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand held on April 25, commemorating the anniversary of the Gallipoli landing. It is now a day to honour all Australians who lost their lives in military and peacekeeping operations.

remembrance shrine The Shrine of Remembrance via Wikimedia Commons

Remembrance Day events

Sydney

A Remembrance Day Service will take place at 10.45am at the Cenotaph, Martin Place.

Let The Great Big World Keep Turning is a Remembrance Day concert on November 11 at the Independent Theatre. The event marks one hundred years since a wartime concert was performed at Coliseum Hill. The family-friendly concert will showcase songs and music that were popular at the time of the Great War.

Melbourne

The Shrine of Remembrance in Kings Domain is the focal point for the Victorian State Remembrance Day Ceremony from 10.30am. After the minutes’ silence, those assembled will watch the sun pass across the Stone of Remembrance, with the Ray of Light landing on the word ‘LOVE’ at 12pm. Remembrance Ceremonies, featuring a simulation of the Ray of Light, will take place in the Sanctuary every half an hour from 12.30pm, with the last ceremony held at 4.30pm. The Flag Ceremony and Last Post is conducted on the Shrine WWII Forecourt at 5pm.The Galleries of Remembrance will also be open for the public to enjoy.

Brisbane

A Remembrance Day Ceremony is taking place at The Workshop Railway Museum’s War Memorial at 10.30am to observe the minute of silence. The museum gardens will be open to enjoy the food trucks, or a family picnic afterwards.

Members of the public are invited to the ANZAC Memorial Park at 10.30am for a Remembrance Day Service. Afterwards, all League members, veterans, serving personnel, partners and carers are invited to the Gallipoli Room for camaraderie.

Perth

A Remembrance Day Dawn Service will be held from 6am - 9.30am at Peaceful Bay Memorial. After the Service a gunfire breakfast will be held at the RSL Shed. For more RSL Remembrance Day events in Perth, go to their events page.

poppies

Why do we wear poppies?

The poppy is a symbol of remembrance and hope. It's not a symbol of death or a sign of support for war.

The Australian Returned Soldiers and Sailors Imperial League (the former RSL) first sold poppies in 1921, when one million silk poppies made in French orphanages were imported to Australia. Each poppy was sold for a shilling: five pence was donated to a charity for French children, six pence went to the League's own welfare work, and one penny went to the League's national coffers.

Nowadays, the RSL sell poppies to raise funds for welfare work. The poppies are worn on Remembrance Day to commemorate the 102,000 Australian servicemen and women who have given their lives in wars and conflicts during the past 100 years.

Canadian doctor Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae’s famous poem, In Flanders Fields helped inspire the poppy to become a symbol of remembrance. Written in 1915, he reflected on the resilience of the delicate flowers that sprang to life amid the devastation of the churned-up battlefields.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

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