TIME World

Memorial Day, Remembrance Sunday and Armed Forces Day: How 9 Other Countries Remember Their Fallen Troops

Fields Of Remembrance Poppies Ahead of Sunday's Service
Crosses with Remembrance Poppies, worn during Remembrance Day in Britain. Cate Gillon—Getty Images

As America observes Memorial Day, here’s how other countries around the world honor their fallen.

Americans remember the men and women of its armed forces who have died in service every year on Memorial Day, always the last Monday in May. Heralding the beginning of summer in the U.S., Memorial Day is an official national holiday that has its roots in the memorials for fallen soldiers in after the American Civil War, still the country’s deadliest conflict.

In other countries around the world, Memorial Day-style observances are rooted in an even deadlier fight — The First World War. World War I, which began a hundred years ago and became one of the deadliest conflicts in history, spawned national memorials throughout the British Commonwealth and elsewhere (in the U.S., the end of the war is commemorated with Veterans Day, formerly Armistice Day). In still other countries, a memorial holiday remembers the war dead of more recent conflicts.

Here’s how countries around the world honor their fallen:


The United Kingdom observes Remembrance Sunday with ceremonies across the country on the Sunday nearest to November 11, the day Germany signed the armistice ending World War I hostilities. Today, the day memorializes fallen British soldiers in all conflicts since the Great War. On November 11 at 11 a.m.—the time of the signing of the armistice—the UK holds a two-minute silence. “Remembrance poppies” are worn and displayed as per a tradition inspired by the Canadian poet John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields:”

In Flanders’ fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

South Korea

South Koreans observe Memorial Day on June 6, the same month that the Korean War began, to honor servicemen and civilians who have died for their country. The nation holds a one-minute silence at 10 a.m.


Armistice Day in France is solemnly observed on Nov. 11 with ceremonies, special church services and poppy adornments. In recent years, the holiday has come to recognize all of the country’s war dead in addition to the 1.4 million people killed in the First World War.

New Zealand and Australia

Anzac Day on April 25 commemorates New Zealand and Australia’s servicemen and women who have died. The day, which stands for “Australian and New Zealand Army Corps,” falls on the anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli, the first major military action by both forces in the First World War in a campaign that would fuel the building of a national consciousness in both countries.


Turkey observes Martyrs’ Day on March 18, the anniversary of a major victory against the Allied Powers during the Gallipoli Campaign. The day is used today to commemorate Turks who have died for the country.


Nigeria formerly observed Armed Forces Remembrance Day on Nov. 11 as a member of the commonwealth. But it has since moved the date to Jan. 15, 1970 to commemorate the end of the country’s civil war.


Italy observes National Unity and Armed Forces Day on November 4, the date Austria-Hungary surrendered to the Italians in 1918. The day is accompanied by ceremonies commemorating members of the armed forces killed in action.


Remembrance Day in Canada, a national holiday on Nov. 11, commemorates Canada’s servicemen and women. At 11 a.m., the country holds a two minute silence in memory of those who perished.

TIME celebrity

The 9 Worst Wedding Gifts to Get Kim and Kanye

There's no doubt in anyone's mind that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West will be together forever

This weekend, the merger—ahem, marriage—between two of the most popular entertainment brands will be complete when Kim Kardashian weds Kanye West. It may feel like the couple’s journey to the altar has been a long time coming, but that’s just because we haven’t been able to stop talking about them, from Kim’s butt, to Kanye’s rage, to human compass point North West—also known as their baby.

With reported guests like Chrissy Teigen, Serena Williams and, of course, the entire Kardashian Klan (for all the details, check out TIME’s definitive guide to what you need to know about the wedding), it’s easy to imagine that the gift table will be overflowing. But a word to the wise: not all gifts are appreciated; Kim put Katie Couric on blast after she sent a baby gift but dissed the Kardashian fam to In Touch. So what should the esteemed guests get #theworldsmosttalkedaboutcouple, as Vogue anointed them on its April 2014 cover? We haven’t a clue. So instead here’s what not to get the couple that really does have everything.

1) An copy of the Ray J song, “I Hit It First.” Because, um, he did.

2) Fake Nike Air Yeezys. Kanye won’t hesitate to call you out.

3) Season tickets to the Boston Celtics, where Kim’s ex-husband Kris Humphries now plays.

4) A Taylor Swift CD. Enough said.

5) An iTunes pass to season 39 of Saturday Night Live, featuring Nasim Pedrad’s nasally impression of Kim on “Waking Up With Kimye.”

6) A Baby Einstein DVD for North.

7) A pair of Jessica Simpson-brand stilettos. Surely they would clash with anything from the Kardashian Kollection the sisters design for Sears.

8) A copy of Final Cut Pro. We all know Kanye prefers Windows Movie Maker.

9) A couch upholstered in the floral fabric Kim wore to the Met Gala two years ago, even though Mrs. Doubtfire would approve.

"PUNK: Chaos To Couture" Costume Institute Gala
Kardashian attends the Costume Institute Gala for the “PUNK: Chaos to Couture” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2013 in New York City. Larry Busacca—Getty Images
TIME Italy

Watch: Italian Police Get a Lamborghini to Help Fight Crime


The Italian police are already known for their fashionable uniforms — but now they’ll be known for having their very own Lamborghini, complete with LED light bar, four sirens, and a police radio, too.

Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann handed over the keys of a Huracán LP 610-4 Polizia on Thursday, which will see actual service by the end of the year, said Alessandro Pansa, head of the Italian police.

“This car will offer more security to those driving in our highways, and to those who need to be rescued in special circumstances,” Pensa said. “It’s a car that will make our country more safe.”

Among the Huracan’s features are a refrigerator to transport organs, a defibrillator in the trunk and a radar that can send speed and license plate information in real time. Of course, let’s not forget the 5.2-liter, V10 engine which helps the car hit 62 mph in just 3.2 seconds. The Lambo is expected to cost around $315,000.

The Huracán LP610-4 is the fifth car given to Italian police by Lamborghini, according to the Italian press agency.


TIME Italy

WATCH: Berlusconi Stunned into Silence Over Alleged Merkel Insult

If ever there was an interview that could use a record scratch, this is it


The normally voluble ex-prime minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, momentarily lost his composure Tuesday night when an interviewer threw him off balance with a question about an alleged insult he gave to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Italian ex-premier was famously reported to have been recorded in 2011 calling Merkel an “unf***able lardass.” In Tuesday night’s BBC interview, legendarily feisty interviewer Jeremy Paxman put it to him straight, after a string of relative softball questions about the euro crisis, the fraying of the EU and rising tensions with Russia.

Berlusconi had ready answers for most questions but was visibly stunned into silence as the translator relayed the obscene comments into his earpiece.


TIME Italy

Italian Navy Rescues Hundreds in All-Night Operation

Italian Navy Ship Grecale Carries 206 Migrant Survivors From Recent Shipwreck
Sant'Egidio Community volunteers hold flowers while waiting arrival of Italian Navy Ship Grecale arriving at the Port of Catania, carrying 206 migrants and 17 bodies of the victims of a shipwrecked boat between Sicily and the north of Africa on May 13, 2014 Tullio M. Puglia—Getty Images

Some 500 migrants traveled across the Mediterranean Sea in two fishing boats that were tied together

The Italian navy saved almost 500 migrants in a mission that lasted from Monday night to Tuesday morning and including more than 100 children.

After two tethered fishing boats that had been traveling across the Mediterranean Sea ran into distress off the coast of Sicily, the Associated Press reported that Italy’s navy took 74 women and 133 children on board their vessels, while 281 men were given life-preservers and instructed to hold tight until their Tuesday rescue. Most travelers came from Egypt, Syria, and Bangledesh, AP reports.

While the navy hasn’t disclosed how many of the children were with their families and how many were unaccompanied minors, Save the Children recently raised the alarm over what it alleges to be Italy’s failure to protect migrant children.

Since April 30, 3,848 minors and 2,744 unaccompanied minors have arrived in Italy, AP reported.


TIME Italy

At Least 14 Dead as Boat Bearing Migrants Sinks South of Italy

Migrants are seen in a boat during a rescue operation by Italian navy ship San Marco off the coast to the south of the Italian island of Sicily
Migrants are seen in a boat after being rescued by an Italian navy ship on Feb. 5, 2014. Two boats carrying migrants capsized south of Italy in recent days Reuters

Two hundred migrants were rescued and at least 14 died in the second deadly shipwreck over two days in waters south of Italy, the Italian coast guard says. According to some media accounts, the boat was carrying up to 400 people when it sank between Libya and Italy

A boat carrying migrants headed for Italy sank off the coast of Libya on Monday, leaving at least 14 dead and many more missing.

Coast-guard and naval vessels have rescued about 200 people and found bodies in the water, news agency ANSA reports. According to some media accounts, the boat was carrying up to 400 people when it sank in the sea between Libya and Italy.

Military and merchant ships are still searching for more survivors and bodies in the waters surrounding the incident, the second deadly shipwreck in the area in two days. On Sunday, a migrant boat sank off the Libyan coast, claiming more than 40 lives.

More than 36,000 migrants have arrived at Italy’s southern coast during the first 4½ months of 2014, the New York Times reports.

Both Italy and Libya have called on European countries to help them cope with the increasing number of migrants from the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa arriving in southern Italy with boats from Libya.

“Europe isn’t helping us,” Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said on Monday in Bologna, before calling on Europe to help accommodate the thousands of migrants arriving in Italy, ANSA reports.

On Saturday, Libya’s Interior Minister warned Europe that Libya will “flood Europe” with migrants if countries don’t help deal with the migrant crisis.

“I warn the world, especially the European Union, unless they assume their responsibility … we warn that Libya could facilitate the passage of this flood (of illegal migrants) and fast,” Salah Mazeq said, according to CNN.



This Creepy 200-Foot Stuffed Rabbit Is Decaying Atop an Italian Mountain

Was this inspired by "Donnie Darko" or something?

Stuffed animals are a near-universal symbol of comfort, safety, and familiarity, an association that’s so powerful it’s been exploited in a number of different areas—from the eminently lovable animal friends we see in Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit stories to the sometimes strange stuffed animals we see on the big screen. The Viennese art collective Gelitin aren’t the latest to take advantage of the positive aura surrounding plushy toys, but their interpretation might be one of the creepiest.

Over a period of five years, the group knitted a gigantic, pink, woolen rabbit named “Hase” (Hare)—200 feet long, 20 feet high—and, in 2005, plopped it on top of a hill in the Piedmont region of Italy. Why? It’s there for hikers to enjoy, and, by 2025, for it to decay completely. “Happily in love you step down the decaying corpse, through the wound, now small like a maggot, over woolen kidney and bowel,” the group writes on the project’s website. “Such is the happiness which made this rabbit,” they continue, “I love the rabbit the rabbit loves me.”

(h/t Death and Taxes)

TIME Italy

Berlusconi Begins First Day of Community Service

Silvio Berlusconi Starts Serving His Sentence At Fondazione Sacra Famiglia In Cesano Boscone
Berlusconi leaves the Fondazione Sacra Famiglia on May 9, 2014 in Milan, Italy. Pier Marco Tacca—Getty Images

The media tycoon kicked off the first day of a year-long sentence helping senior citizens suffering from Alzheimer's disease

The residents of a senior center outside of Milan got the ultimate surprise visitor on Friday: Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, reporting for duty.

The 77-year-old media tycoon was ordered to serve four hours a week at the center following his 2013 conviction for tax fraud. A Milanese court offered the sentence as an alternative to house arrest.

CNN reports that Berlusconi made no comments as he entered the Fondazione Sacra Famiglia, a residence for 20 patients suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Pippo Fiorito, a member of a health care worker’s union, staged a protest at the entrance, saying “His place is in a jail, not here.”

Berlusconi maintains his innocence, arguing that his conviction last August was politically motivated. He is barred from running for office for two years.


TIME Italy

Matteo Renzi: ‘Italy Will Never Be a Normal Country’

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at the Palazzo Chigi in Rome on April 28, 2014.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at the Palazzo Chigi in Rome on April 28, 2014. Alex Majoli—Magnum for TIME

Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi spoke to TIME on April 24 in his first interview with a non-Italian news organization since becoming premier in February. The conversation touched on a wide range of topics, from his plans to reform the Italian political system to his desire for a United States of Europe

Read Stephan Faris’ full story on Matteo Renzi in this week’s issue of TIME.

I’ve been reading your interviews and speeches, and I’ve seen many phrases like “In a normal country, this wouldn’t happen.” In what way is Italy not a normal country?

Italy will never be a normal country. Because Italy is Italy. If we were a normal country, we wouldn’t have Rome. We wouldn’t have Florence. We wouldn’t have the marvel that is Venice. There is in the DNA of the Italians a bit of madness, which in the overwhelming majority of cases is positive. It is genius. It is talent. It’s the masterpieces of art. It’s the food, fashion, everything that makes Italy great in the world.

But then, we’re not a normal country because we have a complicated bureaucracy, a political system that’s appalling. We have twice as many parliamentarians as the United States. We pay some presidents of [administrative] regions more than the United States pays its president. We would like to make Italy a normal country from the point of view of the political system.

Where did Italy go wrong?

It went wrong in the public administration. It’s too complicated. And in its politics. It has too many politicians. Why? Because in these years Italy has been unable to change itself. The UK changed its skin with Tony Blair. Germany changed skin first with [Gerhard] Schröder and then with [Angela] Merkel. The U.S. has changed its skin various times. But Italy remained attached to conservatism. It had a political class that lived in the past and didn’t build the future. The past is our strength, but it risks becoming our ruin if we walk with our heads turned backwards.

When you met Angela Merkel, you made a toast where you compared Italy to Michelangelo’s David. What did you mean by that?

When Michelangelo finished his David, Florentines asked him, ‘How did you do it?’ And Michelangelo said, it was really easy. All I had to do was cut away all the marble that was in excess. That’s how I see Italy. If we cut away all the things that are in excess, bureaucratically, fiscally, something will come out that’s more beautiful than the David… More beautiful than the David, let’s not exaggerate. As beautiful as the David.

A string of Prime Ministers have tried to reform Italy before you, and failed. What makes you think you’re going to succeed where others have not been able to make progress?

Do you know the game [Pick-up Sticks], where you have to pull out one stick at a time [without disturbing the others]? Many of my predecessors thought that it was enough to play [that game when trying to] change the administration in Italy, pull out one stick at a time. I’m convinced that we need to risk everything and try to do a real revolution. Unlike those who think it’s enough to pull out one piece at a time, we’ll put in all our courage, all our energy, all our grit, and we’ll try to overturn the system altogether.

I think at this moment, we have the conditions to do it. This is the right moment. If we don’t do it now, Italy misses the train. Italy is a strange problem. [But] in its moments of maximum difficulty it has always found the strength to do the most incredible things. Italy is this. I bet you that in the next 10 years, Italy will return to be the leader of Europe, the locomotive of Europe. The Italy of my children will be at head of Europe, economically. Because Italy has all the conditions to be the country of the startups, the country of artisans and quality, and the country of the big companies.

You’ve been compared to Tony Blair, because of the way he took on the old guard of his country and changed the definition of what it means to be left-wing in the United Kingdom. What does being left-wing mean to you?

Blair changed the Labour Party, which was one of the most antiquated institutions in the global political world. With Blair it became a place of innovation. It’s the same thing we need to do in Italy. For me, left-wing is the “future.” So, it’s innovation. So, it’s curiosity. So, it’s investment in new technologies. So, it’s giving opportunities for wealth to everybody, but not constraining everybody at the same level. The left is equality, but not in the way that part of the Italian unions thinks, in the sense that everybody needs to arrive at the same point. No. Everybody needs to start from the same point. And then if you’re better, go. For me, the left is courage, risk.

You’ve been criticized for working with former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on electoral reforms, especially given that he’s been convicted of tax fraud and stands accused of paying senators to switch parties. Why did you choose to do that?

Berlusconi is the head of the main opposition party. In many other institutional systems, it would be illogical or unnatural that the head of a party could have the problems with the justice system that you referred to. But in Italy, the state of affairs is that Berlusconi still represents a significant slice of the population.

I’m not forming a government with Silvio Berlusconi. I’m not making secret agreements with Silvio Berlusconi. I want to make an agreement with him, because you shouldn’t write the rules of the game by yourself. The rules of the game should be written together.

Up until February, when you became Prime Minister, you had said that you wanted to take office only after winning an election. And then, you used a parliamentary maneuver to take over from Enrico Letta, the former Prime Minister. Why did you feel that was necessary?

I made this choice because the country was stalled. Blocked. The government wasn’t moving forward. Our constitution provides the possibility to create a parliamentary government. And Enrico Letta wasn’t elected by the people. It’s not like there was a Letta government that won the elections and was replaced. Letta [came to power through] a parliamentary maneuver, exactly the same. He didn’t even have the responsibility of being the leader of his party. At least, I was voted head of the biggest Italian party [the Democratic party]. Which isn’t enough, but it’s something.

It came with a heavy political price.

It wasn’t a political cost. It was a personal cost. That’s something different. I love being in the piazzas. I love campaigning for election. I like the contact with people. But there was a need for a signal of change. I don’t see political costs. I see a personal costs. I would have liked to arrive here after elections.

You don’t think it robbed you of some of the public enthusiasm that you might have benefited from had you come to power by winning an election?

Yes, there was a moment of lack of enthusiasm. It wasn’t so much Italians, who received me with curiosity, as if they were saying, “Let’s see if this one fails too.” It was my friends would have preferred a different approach… I also preferred another approach. But there are moments when you need to do something. And when things need to be done, they should be done.

You’ve said that if you don’t abolish the Senate, the upper house of the Italian Parliament, that you’ll leave politics. What deadlines have you set for yourself?

Within several weeks, we’ll see if the [proposal] is going forward or not. But I’m ready to put in writing that it’ll go forward, that we’re really going to change [the system]. Because the people are with us. It’s not thinkable that things will go up in smoke. But anyway, in respect to your question, my deadline for the first vote is five or six weeks.

You’ve said that the EU stability and growth pact, a set of budgetary rules for European countries, should be renegotiated. While you’ve pledged to respect the EU’s budget deficit limit of 3 percent of GDP, you’ve said that limit is outdated.

People have said, don’t respect the rules. I say something different. First let’s respect the rules. So, Italy respects the rules. It’s only Italy and Germany among the big countries that respect the rules. That this rule is hard to follow is demonstrated by the fact that the only ones who are following it are Italy and Germany.

The problem isn’t the rule itself. It’s that this rule was thought up 20 years ago, when there was another world, when inflation was at a different level. So technically, it’s obvious that this rule is no longer current, that it’s anachronistic. But I don’t want to use the excuse that it’s anachronistic not to respect it. I’ll respect the rule. Afterwards I can ask to change it. If unemployment doubles, it means the rules is not working.

You’ve said you’d like to have a United States of Europe, a stronger Europe.

Today Europe has rules that almost nobody respects. Italy, yes. Italy respects all the European rules. And yet, it’s a Europe that’s very tied to the criteria of austerity, of rigidity. It’s too much in the hands of technicians and functionaries, of bureaucrats. I believe that Europe needs to be given back to the people, to families. [That] means having a vision of the European Union, in which you go towards a United States of Europe. A European civil service. Labor policies that [are] the same in all the countries. Possibilities of excluding investments in schools, in research, in innovation, from the stability pact.

It’s not sensible that saving a bank [should concern] Europe, but that saving a boat in the Mediterranean [concerns] only Italy. That the bailout fund [concerns] Europe…but bailing out migrants is up to us.

Italy will assume the Presidency of the European Union for six months from July. What are your goals for the term?

[It] is a great occasion to change the approach of Italy towards Europe. Five years ago, 54% of Italians approved of Europe. Today, it’s 28%. Why? Because many blame Europe as the cause of our problems. It’s not like that. If we didn’t have Europe, it would be worse for us. We wouldn’t have had monetary and financial stability. But I understand that in a family where somebody is unemployed, they see the rigor of Brussels as the only religious doctrine, and the connection is immediate: they fired my son because of the technocrats in Brussels.

I think in the next six months we need to show that Europe is the solution of the problem, not the cause of the problem.

On the domestic front, if you could choose one reform—and only one—and get it implemented exactly as you propose, what would you choose?

Probably the constitutional reform [the centerpiece of which is abolishing the Senate]. Because that’s the one that changes the rules of the game, that simplifies, that gives Italy a simpler institutional system, similar to others. It’s the only solution to get out of the state we are in. With today’s system, Obama wouldn’t be able to govern. Cameron wouldn’t be able to govern. Merkel wouldn’t be able to govern.

How big of an obstacle is the Italian Parliament for you? Your government is based on the same fractious coalition that your predecessor was unable to manage.

I’m absolutely certain that this Parliament, for one thousand reasons, will last until 2018, the natural end of its term. I’m convinced of it.

If you want to be positive, you can see that the parliamentarians are aware of the fundamental importance of the process of reforms that has been initiated. They know this is the turning point. They understand that it’s the right time.

If you want to be mean, you can say that the survival instinct prevails in Parliament. They know that if we had to go to the vote, many of them would have difficulties, even to find space on the [ballot], never mind in parliament. This is the reason why a significant number are right now ready to grit their teeth. That’s the negative view, what someone malicious would say.

I’m good, so I say it’s without a doubt the first reason.

If you had to leave politics, what would you do?

I believe that doing politics is a beautiful experience, extraordinary, fascinating. But here in Italy we need to get used to seeing politics not as a career for life, but as an obligation for a bit of time. I imagine myself as somebody who tries to change the country for a few years, and when I quit, I quit.

I’m less than 40 years old. I don’t come from a rich family. I don’t come from a noble family. I’ve never lived in Rome. [Before becoming Prime Minister] I had never once put a foot in Parliament, and yet Italy gives me the opportunity to try to change it. It means that maybe this country is more open to opportunities and talent than people think.

And what would you do after politics?

For me, after politics, I could be a professor in a university. A manager in a private company. A… a librarian. A dad. Or maybe a grandfather. No, better a dad.

It doesn’t sound like it’s something you’ve thought about.

No. I imagine ending my political experience very young. I hope to have time to recapture a private sphere that at this moment I don’t have anymore.

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