How the Cenotaph became a symbol of remembrance

The Cenotaph has been the centrepiece of services to remember the fallen since 1919

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It was, at first, a wood-and-plaster structure designed by the architect Sir Edwin Luytens for the London Victory Parade of 19 July 1919. This was pulled down soon after.

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Yet such was the public demand for a war memorial that Prime Minister Lloyd George and his cabinet decided to replace it with something more permanent, and again commissioned Luytens to come up with a design.

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King George V unveiled Luytens’ iconic Portland stone structure – which is inscribed with the words ‘The Glorious Dead’, two wreaths and the dates of the First World War – in London’s Whitehall on 11 November 1919. The Cenotaph has been the site of the annual National Service of Remembrance ever since.