2018 will mark the 100th anniversary of the ending of WWI. The reason we observe Remembrance Day on November 11th is to commemorate the armistice signing between the Allies and Germany which took effect at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, officially ending the Great War.
The Allied Powers had 42.5 million troops involved with the war; by the end of the war just over 5 million were killed in action and 12.8 million were wounded. Canada alone saw 64,449 military deaths and 149,732 wounded. WWI is ranked 3rd of the deadliest conflicts in the 1900s. The Sino-Japanese War is 2nd and WWII is the deadliest conflict in all of human history.
The first official Armistice Day events to honour those who fought in the war were held on the grounds of Buckingham Palace in the morning of November 11, 1919. Of course, this event would set the trend for all Remembrance Days to follow over the decades to come. The two minutes of silence started in 1919 in Cape Town and quickly spread through the British Commonwealth when a Reuter’s correspondent described this ritual to London. The first minute of silence is to show respect to the roughly 20 million people who died in the war and the second minute is dedicated to the living left behind.
In Great Britain and other Commonwealth countries, both Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday are not public holidays but are commemorated formally at 11 am on November 11th. In both France and Belgium “Armistice Day” is a national holiday. In 2012 Serbia made it a statutory holiday and in Italy, they commemorate the end of WWI on November 4th, the day of the Armistice of Villa Giusti. Canada marks November 11th as a time to honour all veterans, including those deceased, with patriotic displays usually with poppies as the symbol or remembrance.
You can go to http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/events to find out where the closest Remembrance Day events are taking place near you or go to your local municipal website to learn where they are holding their Remembrance Day event.
Let us remember those who fought in WWI for our freedoms 100 years ago.
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.” – Laurence Binyon.
Photo source: Wikipedia.com, itv.com, renaissancekids.ca, legion.ca