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Remembrance Sunday 2017: What is the Cenotaph?

Remembrance Sunday 2017: What is the Cenotaph?
The Cenotaph is the place where the Remembrance Sunday ceremony takes place every year, to pay tribute to those who died in the wars (Picture: NurPhoto/Getty Images)

Remembrance Sunday is held on the second Sunday in November annually to remember the agreement to end fighting during the First World War in 1918.

Remembrance Sunday will be held on 12 November 2017. The Cenotaph is the most famous war memorial in the UK.

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To mark the occasion, poppies are worn and a two minute silence is observed to remember the soldiers and heroes of the war.

Armistice Day, which is also referred to as Remembrance Day, is on 11 November.

The Queen has traditionally led the celebrations by laying a wreath at the Cenotaph.

However, this year she has asked the Prince of Wales to take her place for the first time.

Where and what is the Cenotaph?

The Cenotaph is located in Whitehall, London, and the National Service of Remembrance is held there.

Interestingly, Cenotaph means ’empty tomb’ and signifies the losses suffered during the First World War.

It was not actually meant to be a permanent landmark.

Remembrance Sunday 2017: What is the Cenotaph?
Poppy wreaths surround the Cenotaph (Picture: Getty)

In 1919, British architect Edwin Landseer Lutyens was asked by Sir Alfred Mond, First Commissioner of Works, to design a catafalque.

This is a raised platform to hold a casket or tomb – to stand on Whitehall.

After an official approach by Prime Minister David Lloyd George, Lutyens made the design for the cenotaph to coincide with the Peace Day celebrations in July 1919.

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The design was an original wood and plaster structure and it was only meant to serve for a week.

However, because of the memorial’s popularity, a permanent replacement was commissioned.

The original was removed in January 1920 and the new Portland stone memorial was completed and installed.

This was unveiled by King George V on Armistice Day – 11 November 1920.

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