Yesterday's ceremonies at the Cenotaph for Armistice Day – and the two minutes' silence, at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month – were dignified and moving, as they always are. Yet it is hard to understand why there should be two separate national acts of commemoration, one on Remembrance Sunday, and the other on Armistice Day itself. Indeed, since the addition of Veterans' Day in June three years ago, there is now a third.
The engagement of our armed forces overseas in recent years has made such acts of commemoration relevant to a new generation. Rather than multiplying the ceremonies, though, should we not combine them – and make Armistice Day itself a public holiday, as it is in France and the US. Not only would this give the day the recognition it deserves, it would also punctuate the long gap between the August bank holiday and Christmas and solve our dearth of public holidays. Who could possibly argue against it?Reuse content