Military Remembrance Days Around the World

Military Remembrance Days Around the World

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Memorial Day in the United States. Anzac Day in Australia. Remembrance Day in Britain, Canada, South Africa, Australia and other Commonwealth countries. Many countries hold a special day of remembrance each year to commemorate their soldiers who died in service, as well as non-service men and women who died as a result of military conflict.

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Anzac Day

Jill Ferry Photography / Getty Images

April 25th marks the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli, the first major military action of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) in World War I. More than 8,000 Australian soldiers died in the Gallipoli campaign. The national Anzac Day holiday was established in 1920 as a national day of commemoration for the more than 60,000 Australians who had died during World War I, and since has expanded to include World War II, as well as all other military and peacekeeping operations in which Australia has been involved.

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Armistice Day - France and Belgium

Guillaume CHANSON / Getty Images

November 11th is a national holiday in both Belgium and France, held to commemorate the end of World War One hostilities “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” in 1918. In France, each municipality places a wreath its War Memorial to remember those who died in service, most including blue cornflowers as a flower of remembrance. The country also observes two minutes of silence at 11:00 a.m. local time; the first minute dedicated to the nearly 20 million people who lost their life during WWI, and the second minute for the loved ones they left behind. A large memorial service is also held northwest of Flanders, Belgium, where hundreds of thousands of American, English and Canadian soldiers lost their lives in the trenches of 'Flanders Fields.'

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Dodenherdenking: Dutch Remembrance of the Dead

Photo by Bob Gundersen / Getty Images

Dodenherdenking, held annually each May 4th in the Netherlands, commemorates all civilians and members of the armed forces of the Kingdom of the Netherlands who have died in wars or peacekeeping missions from World War II to the present. The holiday is fairly low-key, honored with memorial services and parades at war memorials and military cemeteries. Dodenherdenking is followed directly Bevrijdingsdag, or Liberation Day, to celebrate the end of the occupation of Nazi Germany.

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Memorial Day (South Korea)

Pool / Getty Images

On June 6th each year (the month that the Korean War began), South Koreans observe Memorial Day to honor and remember servicemen and civilians who died in the Korean War. Individuals across the nation observe one minute of silence at 10:00 a.m.

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Memorial Day (U.S.)

Getty / Zigy Kaluzny

Memorial Day in the United States is celebrated on the last Monday in May to remember and honor military men and women who died while serving in the nation's armed forces. The idea originated in 1868 as Decoration Day, established by Commander in Chief John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Since 1968, every available soldier in the the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) has honored America's fallen heroes by placing small American flags at grave sites for service members buried at both Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery just prior to the Memorial Day weekend in a tradition known as "Flags In."

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Remembrance Day

John Lawson / Getty Images

On November 11th, individuals in Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa and other countries that fought for the British Empire in the first World War, pause for two minutes of silence at one hour before noon local time to remember those who died. The time and day symbolizes the moment the guns fell silent on the Western Front, 11 November 1918.

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Volkstrauertag: National Day of Mourning in Germany

Erik S. Lesser / Getty Images

The public holiday of Volkstrauertag in Germany is held two Sundays before the first day of Advent to commemorate those who died in armed conflicts or as the victims of violent oppression. The first Volkstrauertag was held in 1922 in Reichstag, for German soldiers killed in the First World War, but became official in its present form in 1952.


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