On the 11th day of the 11th month in the year 1918 ‘The Great War‘ came to an end. In many countries around the world that event has been celebrated each year since on that same day, Nov 11. We do this to remember the sacrifice that was made and by doing so, honour those who made that sacrifice and in the process be reminded of the grim and sober realities of war. At the time WW1 was called ‘the war to end all wars‘ because it, the first major international conflict after the mechanization of killing, was such a grisly business. The term was coined by author and social commentator H. G. Wells. Unfortunately the end of WW1 was not the end to War.
In France and Belgium this date is called Armistice Day which speaks to that particular event of that particular war. The Americans also called it that but in 1954, after the Korean conflict, they changed its name to Veteran’s Day. In Poland this day is called Independence Day because the end of World War One saw a reunification of the nation with the closing of a century of partitioning: and new freedoms that came with self government.
In the Commonwealth countries it is called Remembrance Day. 95 years later and we’re still observing that day and remembering that event as well as those who served and fell in that war and the wars since. This last Monday Grand Forks held its Remembrance Day ceremonies downtown at the cenotaph next to City Hall. Below is that service in its entirety.
For more information on Remembrance Day read about it on Wikipedia.In the ceremonies you will see many people wearing red poppies. Why do we wear Poppies on Remembrance Day?
And you might have seen a few wearing white poppies instead of red. What is the story behind the White Poppies?
And you might have noticed that the flag of the USA never dipped as the other flags were made to do. To some this might have been a novel experience while others might feel a bit offended by the implied hubris: I will admit to never having noticed it before myself. However if you invite an American citizen to participate in your ceremonies carrying the flag of the USA and if they are aware of the United States Flag Code then this is what you must expect. They take their national standards and symbols seriously down south. It’s not done to offend anyone – they just have their priorities ordered differently from ours.