November 11th, in countries all around the world, is recognised as Armistice Day, commemorating the end of World War I (the Great War). The armistice was signed November 11th 1918 at 5:10am between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France; the actual ceasefire commenced at the 11:00am (allowing information to travel to different areas of the Western Front).
So now, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month we remember, and recognise the sacrifices of those who did not return home after the Great War.
Many allied nations commemorate Armistice Day in some way.
In the United States, November 11th is recognised as Veterans Day; a day which celebrates not only those who served and died, but all American service men and women, living and deceased.
In Australia November 11th is recognised as Remembrance Day, and now recognises the loss of Australian lives in all wars and conflicts. At 11am, one minutes silence is generally observed.
In many countries the red poppy is a symbol of Armistice Day and is worn by many. The Flanders Poppy is recognised throughout the allied nations as the flower of remembrance and is often worn on Armistice Day. The red poppies were among the first plants that sprouted from the devastation of the battlefields of northern France and Belgium. According to ‘Soldiers’ folklore the poppies were vivid red from having been nurtured in ground drenched with the blood of their comrades’.
The poem below was written by John McCrae in 1915:
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.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Thank you to all who have served and those currently serving.
This is a photo of my grandfather who served in the first World War – he was just 20 years old at the time:
Lest We Forget!