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Surreyman  (Level: 257.1 - Posts: 2766)
Mon, 29th May '06 8:56 AM


In some personal chats with a US Sploofer, it appears that USA and UK 'Memorial Days' differ somewhat in the ways they're recognised.
The USA chap thought that others might be interested in how the UK treats theirs.
I don't know if there's any general interest or not but, for what it's worth, here was my answer to him:

Your Memorial Day sounds nothing like ours.
We have 'Remembrance Sunday' which is close to 11/11.
Absolutely no 'celebration' at all.
Every village/town in the UK would have a large Sunday morning outdoor service around the nearest war memorial, attended by all who wish to be there (usually very well attended) and by representatives of all sectors - Scouts, local cadets, the Mayor etc. The Legion would certainly be represented, of course, and give the 'We will remember them' address.
There would be a silence at 11 a.m., maybe finished with a bugle Last Post.
Then we just all go home.
Unusually, on this day, at the service, civilians would wear any past medals earned on their civilian clothes, and/or deceased relatives' medals.
There is a massive version of all this in London, by the Cenotaph. Attended by the Queen, PM and all down from there, and by thousands of veterans in a march-past afterwards.
This is all on the nearest Sunday to November 11.
On November 11 itself there is a nation-wide silence at 11 a.m. which is generally recognised all over - even the planes stop taxiing at Heathrow.
But that's it. No accompanying events, family get-togethers etc.
A personal custom by many is to 'plant' small crosses bearing remembered folks' names by the War Memorial after the service.
Coincidentally, though, this weekend now, in the UK, is a 3-day holiday (the Spring Bank Holiday) which does inevitably mean get-togethers, etc.

Suzer22  (Level: 165.6 - Posts: 1982)
Mon, 29th May '06 12:25 PM

This sounds much closer to the day we observe, also on November 11th, with a 'bank holiday' on the nearest Friday or Monday, if the 11th falls on a weekend. This is called Veterens Day and, although there is no church service, there is usually a parade of vets.

Perhaps a US vet could explain the similarities and differences better than I.

As far as I can tell, for most Americans, Memorial Day has become the official kick-off for summer with family bar-b-que parties being the biggest deal (and big sales at every store for the three-day weekend).

Mindmonkey  (Level: 268.3 - Posts: 295)
Mon, 29th May '06 7:18 PM

Your Remembrance Day is our Veterans Day and both came from the same origin--the day The Great War ended in 1918. We used to call it Armistice Day. Memorial Day started after the Civil War, so it began much earlier. Unfortunately, we've had too many more wars, so both of the holidays have been universalized to honor the veterans and the dead from the many wars since.

Bushyfox  (Level: 174.4 - Posts: 2403)
Tue, 30th May '06 5:43 AM

In Australia, we remember our fallen, and honor our military personnel (past and present) on Anzac Day, 25th of April each year.

A Service is held at dawn at memorials with prayers and hymns. A bugler plays the Last Post, and we remember in silence. Then the "Ode Of Remembrance" is read aloud:~

"They shall grow not old,
As we who 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.

.......Lest we forget."

Later, there is a street parade of veterans of all campaigns and wars; and some who wear the medals of their veteran relative.
There is much flag-waving, bands playing, cheers and tears.
The parade ends at a park with a memorial, and another service is conducted with more prayers and hymns.

Then everyone disperses to reunion venues and pubs for breakfast and beers. Around noon the national game of Aussie veterans called "Two-Up" is played, by tossing two pennies into the air, and wagering on the result of the fallen coins.
Anzac Day is the only day this game is legal.

The name "ANZAC" is an acronym of "Australian and New Zealand Army Corps"
An "Anzac" also means a veteran of the battle at Gallipoli in the first World War.

An "Anzac" can also mean an oatmeal and golden syrup biscuit (cookie) that was a favorite with soldiers in parcels from home.


Bushyfox  (Level: 174.4 - Posts: 2403)
Tue, 30th May '06 6:09 AM

If there are folks from other countries on Sploofus who would like to make a similar contribution, I am sure we would all be interested to hear how you and your countrymen honor the defenders of our homes, and upholders of peace.

Surreyman  (Level: 257.1 - Posts: 2766)
Tue, 30th May '06 7:51 AM

Do other nations not recognise the 11 a.m. silence on 11/11? Didn't realise that it was possibly just a Brit thing?

Lolly  (Level: 99.8 - Posts: 78)
Tue, 30th May '06 9:20 AM

Yes we do here in Australia Surreyman, however Anzac Day is our big day of remembrance. Lest We Forget.

Lolly  (Level: 99.8 - Posts: 78)
Tue, 30th May '06 9:21 AM

Incidentally, Anzac Day is the only day that playing Two Up in the street is legal. Come In Spinner Bev.. :D

Joanneeberlin  (Level: 181.9 - Posts: 686)
Tue, 30th May '06 9:43 AM

We also do the minute of silence at 11 am on November 11....It is a bank holiday as well in Canada. There are veteran parades and poppies worn by all....It is called Rememberance Day here in Canada and it is only on November 11 that we remember our fallen soldiers. Lest we Forget.

Koota  (Level: 180.6 - Posts: 2097)
Tue, 30th May '06 11:06 AM

Thanks for the original post, Surreyman, and for all of your responses from all over. That is so fascinating to hear from so many.

Everybody hears about the big sales and the summer kick-off here in the US, but quieter ceremonies are held in graveyards all over the country by families who place flags and flowers on the graves of our veterans.

I like the silence at 11:00 that is observed by other countries.


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