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At 1800 GMT, the Royal British Legion will stage a flypast and drop 1.3 million poppy petals above the Thames.
The petals - one for every British and Commonwealth service person killed in action since the beginning of World War I - will be dropped between Tower and Westminster bridges by an original World War II Douglas Dakota DC3 aircraft during a two-minute flypast.
The river will be lit up in red every night until Sunday when the Queen, accompanied by about 9,000 veterans, will lay a wreath at the Cenotaph.
Among the crosses, the occasional crescent or Star of David serves as a reminder Muslims and Jews have also laid down their lives for peace and freedom.