With the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal already in progress, it’s a good moment to reflect on what Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday are all about. By now, you’ll probably already have started seeing the familiar little flowers in shops across the UK. You might even have yours proudly pinned to your chest as you read this – or you might be waiting until right up until the 11th of November to put it on. Either way, as it turns out, you’re doing it right.

Despite the Poppy Appeal being a well established British tradition, there’s no set agreement over where and when to wear one. Some people pin them on during the first day of the campaign, while others wait until the 31st of October or even the 11th of November. Many insist they should be worn over their hearts, or that women should wear theirs only on the right side.

According to the Royal British Legion, however, the only correct way to wear a poppy is with pride. Stick to that and you can’t go wrong.

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, and a year in which Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday coincide. Both are connected by a common purpose: to honour those who have lost their lives, whether in WWI or any conflict since. That commitment will be marked in a two-minute silence at 11am, representing the moment the Great War ended in 1918. Those two minutes will begin a National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in London, organised by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport with support from the Armed Forces and veterans’ organisations.

If you’re looking to attend this year’s commemoration ceremony, the official timings are:

  • 08:00: Whitehall opens to the public. The public are advised to arrive early to secure a good view, as space is limited. Please allow time to clear the police security procedures and you are advised not to bring suitcases or large bags.
  • 09:00: Royal British Legion (RBL) detachments form up on Horse Guards Parade and in Whitehall.
  • 10:00: All detachments march out from Wellington Barracks.
  • 11:00: Two minutes silence marked by the firing of guns from King’s Troop on Horse Guards Parade. Cenotaph Service commences.
  • 11:25: Cenotaph Service concludes and Royal British Legion detachments disperse past the Cenotaph.
  • 12:30: The Nation’s Thank You procession commences
  • 13:30: The Nation’s Thank You procession ends

No tickets are required, and any questions about the event can be sent to RBL at cenotaph@britishlegion.org.uk. Be aware that, given the number of people expected to attend, it’ll be tricky to get away from Whitehall until after the procession ends. Keep your plans flexible – and leave your drones at home if you don’t want to get prosecuted!

Check the British Legion website or Armistice100 for more details of local Remembrance Day events.

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