Home Canadian News 100th anniversary of armistice day, and the end of World War 1

100th anniversary of armistice day, and the end of World War 1

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Is there a difference between Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday?

Armistice Day, which also referred to as Remembrance Day, is November 11 itself.
Remembrance Sunday is held on the second Sunday in November and this year will take place on Sunday, November 11.
A two-minute silence is often acknowledged at schools, offices and churches around the country.
A National Service of Remembrance is held at The Cenotaph in Whitehall in London.
Members of the Royal Family and the Government attend the service alongside representatives from the Armed Forces and the public.
Another two-minute silence is held at 11am before a number of wreaths are laid down.
The Royal Marines buglers usually sound The Last Post.

What is Armistice Day and why is it remembered?

The day remembers the agreement between the Allies and Germany on November 11, 1918, to stop fighting which marked victory for the Allies and defeat for Germany.
It was signed in Compiegne in Northern France and came into effect at 11am.
The armistice forced the Germans to evacuate invaded countries and territories within two weeks.
They also had to surrender a significant amount of war material, including five thousand guns, 25,000 machine guns, 1,700 planes.
Germany, exhausted by war and with a nation of hungry citizens, reluctantly accepted the terms.
Although hostilities continued in some areas, the armistice essentially brought an end to fours years of fighting in the First World War.

How the Poppy Came to Symbolize World War I

A century ago, “the war to end all wars” raged throughout Europe—a war that racked up nearly 38 million casualties, including upwards of 8.5 million deaths. More than 900,000 of the dead were British soldiers, and since 2014, 100 years after the war began, thousands of people in the U.K. have seen a huge field of red ceramic poppies, the symbol of war remembrance throughout the Commonwealth

But why poppies? The answer is half biology, half history. The common or “corn” poppy, also known as Papaver rhoeas, grows throughout the United States, Asia, Africa and Europe and is native to the Mediterranean region. Its seeds need light to grow, so when they’re buried in the earth, they can lay dormant for 80 years or even longer by some accounts, without blooming. Once soil is disturbed and the seeds come to light, poppies nobody knew existed can then bloom.

During World War I, this beautiful phenomenon took place in a Europe decimated by the first truly modern war. In Belgium, which was home to part of the Western Front in its Flanders provinces, the soil was torn up by miles of trenches and pocked by bombs and artillery fire. The Battles of Ypres, which took part in a portion of Flanders known as Flanders Fields, were particularly deadly and took a toll on the physical environment, too. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers, many of them British, breathed their last on soil laid bare and churned up by the mechanics of war.

After the Second Battle of Ypres, a Canadian doctor named John McCrae noticed red poppies growing near one of Flanders’ Fields’ mass cemeteries. He wrote a poem, “In Flanders Fields,” in 1915, which was eventually published in Britain. “In Flanders fields the poppies blow,” wrote McCrae, “Between the crosses, row on row.” It went on to become the war’s most popular and most recognized poem in the United States and Great Britain.

The poem, which muses on the existence of poppies in a cemetery and encourages people to take up the torch in honor of their fallen countrymen, became a powerful recruiting tool for the Allies. (Lines from the poem and red poppies even appeared on the back of the Canadian $10 bill for a time.) Red poppies began to appear not just on posters encouraging people to sign up for the army or to buy war bonds, but in ceremonies honoring the war dead.         smithsonianmag.com