morning world it is the 11th
November in my part of the world also known as Armistice or
Remembrance Day when on the 11th
hour we have a minute of silence to remember all those who have died
in wars. It was 2 minutes but many places only require a minute
11 am on 11 November 1918 the guns of the Western Front fell silent
after more than four years continuous warfare. The allied armies had
driven the German invaders back, having inflicted heavy defeats upon
them over the preceding four months. In November the Germans called
for an armistice (suspension of fighting) in order to secure a peace
settlement. They accepted the allied terms of unconditional
11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month attained a special
significance in the post-war years. The moment when hostilities
ceased on the Western Front became universally associated with the
remembrance of those who had died in the war. This first modern world
conflict had brought about the mobilisation of over 70 million people
and left between 9 and 13 million dead, perhaps as many as one-third
of them with no known grave. The allied nations chose this day and
time for the commemoration of their war dead.
the first anniversary of the armistice in 1919 two minutes' silence
was instituted as part of the main commemorative ceremony at the new
Cenotaph in London. The silence was proposed by Australian journalist
Edward Honey, who was working in Fleet Street. At about the same
time, a South African statesman made a similar proposal to the
British Cabinet, which endorsed it.
George V personally requested all the people of the British Empire to
suspend normal activities for two minutes on the hour of the
armistice "which stayed the worldwide carnage of the four
preceding years and marked the victory of Right and Freedom".
The two minutes' silence was popularly adopted and it became a
central feature of commemorations on Armistice Day.
the second anniversary of the armistice in 1920 the commemoration was
given added significance when it became a funeral, with the return of
the remains of an unknown soldier from the battlefields of the
other allied nations adopted the tradition of entombing unknown
soldiers over the following decade.
the end of the Second World War, the Australian and British
governments changed the name to Remembrance Day. Armistice Day was no
longer an appropriate title for a day which would commemorate all war
dead. However, many Australians still call the day Armistice Day I
know I do.
Australia on the 75th anniversary of the armistice in 1993
Remembrance Day ceremonies again became the focus of national
attention. The remains of an unknown Australian soldier, exhumed from
a First World War military cemetery in France, were ceremonially
entombed in the Memorial's Hall of Memory.
Day ceremonies were conducted simultaneously in towns and cities all
over the country, culminating at the moment of burial at 11 am and
coinciding with the traditional two minutes' silence. This ceremony,
which touched a chord across the Australian nation, re-established
Remembrance Day as a significant day of commemoration.
years later, in 1997, Governor-General Sir William Deane issued a
proclamation formally declaring 11 November to be Remembrance Day,
urging all Australians to observe one minute's silence at 11 am on 11
November each year to remember those who died or suffered for
Australia's cause in all wars and armed conflicts.
Flanders poppy has long been part of the day, the poppies were among
the first plants to spring up in the devastated battlefields in
France and Belgium.
many soldiers the red colour of the poppy came from the blood of
their fallen comrades which was soaked into the ground.
didn't take long for the poppy to be accepted as the flower of
remembrance and is usually worn on Armistice Day. They were first
sold for Armistice Day in 1921 by The Australian Returned Soldiers
and Sailors Imperial League (later became known as the RSL). Those
first silk poppies were made in French orphanages and imported to
Australia they sold for a shilling with five pence was donated to a
charity for French children and a six pence went to the League's own
the RSL continues to sell poppies for Remembrance Day to raise funds
for its welfare work.
adorn the panels of the Memorial's Roll
placed beside names as a small personal tribute to the memory of a
particular person, or to any of the thousands of individuals
practice began at the interment
of the Unknown Australian Soldier on 11 November 1993.
As people waited to lay a single flower by his tomb in the Hall of
Memory, they had to queue along the cloisters, beside the Roll of
Honour. By the end of the day, hundreds of RSL poppies had been
pushed into the cracks between the panels bearing the names of the