Armistice Day, held on November 11th every year, commemorates the signing of the armistice between the Allies and Germany and marks the end of fighting in World War 1. As the years have passed, Armistice Day had become a day to remember all of the sacrifices made by the members of the armed forces and of civilians in times of war. Many countries commemorate this day, or some form of it, in their own way, and while they aren’t all on the same date, countries around the world have their own traditions to remember fallen soldiers.
United Kingdom – Armistice Day
In the UK, poppies have become the symbol for this day with many people wearing them from the 2nd November (All Souls’ Day) until November 11th or Remembrance Sunday. It has also become a tradition that on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, people pause for a two minute silence to remember those killed or injured in battle.
Australia and New Zealand – Anzac Day
Anzac day, held on 25th April, marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by their forces during the First World War. To memorialise this day, commemorative services are held across the nation at dawn – the time of the original landing, including a ceremony at the Australian War Memorial which includes the laying of wreaths, hymns and the sounding of the Last Post. Later in the day, former servicemen and women join together to take part in marches through the countries major cities and smaller towns.
Belgium – Armistice Day
Like the UK, Belgium celebrates Armistice Day on November 11th. However, it is recognised as a national holiday, meaning most government agencies, banks and shops are closed on the day. There are a number of commemorative ceremonies and services held around Belgian cities with military parades, the sounding of the Last Post and a minute’s silence at 11am.
Germany – Volkstrauertag
Volkstrauertag, held on the Sunday that falls closest to November 16th, is a German National Day of Mourning and commemorates all military and civilians from all countries who have died as a result of armed conflicts. On this day, the President of Germany gives a speech before the national anthem and the song “Ich hatt’ einen Kameraden” (“I had a comrade”) is played in the national ceremony. Veterans in local provinces often march from their churches to war memorials.