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Monday, November 10, 1997 Published at 08:31 GMT


Britain pauses to remember

More than 38 million people are expected to fall silent on Tuesday, after millions watched Sunday's ceremony

Much of Britain will come to a standstill on Tuesday November 11 to remember the dead of the two World Wars and other conflicts.

The country is due to observe the traditional two-minute silence at 11am on Armistice Day - exactly 79 years after the end of World War I.

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The number of people participating in the event is expected to exceed last year's estimated 38m, even though this year it is a weekday.

Launching the Royal British Legion's poppy appeal, pop group the Spice Girls urged young people to participate in the silence on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

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More than 100 local authorities plan to fire maroons to mark the start of the silence.

For the first time all the major stores, including Safeway, Boots and John Lewis, will take part.

Many BBC and independent television and radio stations will also fall silent.

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The Royal Legion Secretary General, Ian Townsend, said: "We have been working quietly since April gathering support from local authorities and large companies who will give their employees and visitors the opportunity to pause and remember at 11am on November 11 if they wish to do so.

"All the signs are that there will be a significantly higher level of observance of the Silence this year."

Remembrance Sunday

On Sunday, the Queen Mother joined war veterans at the Cenotaph, the memorial to the war dead, for the Remembrance Day service for the first time in four years.

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Her daughter, the Queen, led more than 10,000 veterans through central London.

The Queen Mother, who is 97, wore a black hat and coat as she watched the service from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office building nearby.

Ill-health kept her from attending for the past three years.
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Millions more people watched the ceremony on live television. For the first time a giant screen was put up outside the Ministry of Defence to ensure everyone present got a good view.

At 11am, the nation stopped for two minutes to remember the war dead.

Afterwards, the Queen walked forward and placed her wreath at the side of the Cenotaph.

She was joined by the her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, British political leaders and representatives of Commonwealth governments.
Along with the on-looking crowds, they braved heavy rain to pay their respects.

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After the Royal wreaths, the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, placed his wreath at the memorial.

He was followed by the Conservative leader, William Hague, and the Liberal Democrat leader, Paddy Ashdown. The leader of the Ulster Unionists, David Trimble, and the deputy leader of the Scottish Nationalists, Margaret Ewing, also laid wreaths.

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A first at the annual parade was the appearance of 40 gay veterans, who called themselves the Rank Outsiders.

Outside of the capital, similar ceremonies were held throughout the United Kingdom.

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