Remembering those who gave their today for your tomorrow

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TOWERING TRIBUTE: Around 10,000 torches have been lit outside the Tower of London. Credit: @Vine_Technical/Twitter

THIS year marks a poignant century since the First World Way ended and fittingly, both Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday fall Today on November 11.

Armistice Day honours the signing of the agreement between the Allies and Germany at 11am on November 11 1918 to cease hostilities: the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

Although fighting continued in some areas, the truce effectively brought an end to four years of brutal warfare.

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As a result, it is an important tradition to pause our busy daily lives at 11am today to remember those killed in the two world wars as well as those in the armed forces who have been killed or injured since 1945.

Germany, exhausted by war and with a nation of hungry citizens, reluctantly accepted the terms.

On November 10 the Queen attended a Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, hosted by the Royal British Legion.

Today she will attend a special service at Westminster Abbey in the company of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and of course take her place at the Cenotaph commemoration at 11am with various other royals, politicians and members of the armed forces.

Last year, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh watched proceedings from a balcony for the first time, and Prince Charles instead took on the mantle and laid the wreath.

Appropriately, it was announced earlier this year that families of First World War veterans will be allowed to march past the Cenotaph to honour the sacrifice of their loved ones.

Normally 10,000 people are permitted to take part in the annual march, but in light of this particularly significant year, an extra 10,000 places will be made available to those with an emotional connection to the Great War.

After the Second World War, many countries changed the name of the day from Armistice Day to Remembrance Day, while the US chose to call it Veterans Day and made it a federal holiday.

In 1915, Canadian doctor Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was inspired by the sight of poppies growing in battle-scarred fields to write the famous poem In Flanders Fields.

Before long, poppies made their way to the UK and became the symbol of the Royal British Legion when it was formed in 1921.

This year’s Poppy Appeal is unsurprisingly the biggest ever and the Legion hopes to raise £50 million (€56 million) for service men and women, veterans and their families.

As part of Laurence Binyon’s poem For the Fallen so rightly says:

“They shall not grow old, as we who are left grow old.”

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