On this day in history : 11th November 1920 – The Cenotaph in Whitehall, London – Britain’s monument to her war dead – is unveiled….

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The Unveiling Ceremony, 11th November 1920 – Horace Nicholls – Public domain

Originally a temporary structure, made from wood and plaster, stood in its place…. It was intended as part of the first anniversary of the Armistice in 1919…. Prime Minister Lloyd George asked Edwin Lutyens to design and build it – he had just 10 days to do so…. Such was the enthusiasm and demand of the public the decision was made to provide a permanent memorial….

The Cenotaph we have today was once again designed by Lutyens – and is constructed from Portland Stone…. The name ‘Cenotaph’ comes from the Greek literally meaning ’empty tomb’…. The inscription upon it simply reads ‘The Glorious Dead’….

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The Cenotaph – Whitehall. Image : Godot13 CC BY-SA 4.0

The unveiling ceremony was performed by King George V – he pressed a button on a pillar before him causing two Union Jack flags to fall…. Every year a Remembrance Service is held on Remembrance Sunday….hymns are sung, prayers are said and a two-minute silence is held…. Wreaths are laid upon the Cenotaph steps and a march by war veterans takes place – to show respect for those who have fallen…. Of course, there are no longer any veterans from WW1 to do so now….

Remembrance Sunday always falls on the Sunday closest to November the 11th….

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Remembrance Day, 2010 – Image : Sgt. Dan Harmer, RLC – OGL V1.0

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