Saturday, November 11, 2017

Is 'Armistice Day', 11 November, still relevant?

1. The Cenotaph, Whitehall, London:
Without any poppy wreaths of Remembrance!
2. Armistice Day at Keswick, Cumbria
The Last Post and 'Two Minute Silence' at the Cenotaph
'Remembrance' as part of everyday life of the town 
3. The 'Keswick Reminder' remembers the 'Fallen' 
A list of Keswickians who died in WW1 and WW2
Is marking 'Armistice Day', 11 November, each year still relevant to the modern world? What, if anything, is special about 'Armistice Day'? Does Britain and the Commonwealth not have Remembrance Sunday to remember the World Wars and other conflicts? Is Remembrance Sunday not sufficient? 

For additional thoughts and information click on 'Comments' below.


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Armistice Day (11 November)

Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day (11 November) marks the signing of the Armistice between the Allies and Germany at Compi├Ęgne, northern France, for the cessation of hostilities on the 1914 - 1918 war, the so-called 'Great War', the "war to end all wars". Britain's European Allies in WW1 and WW2 mark this Remembrance Day as a national holiday. This Armistice took place on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. So while it may be a significant day in the national and local identities of France and Belgium what is its relevance to Britain?

In the strictest sense, at least in Britain and the Commonwealth, Armistice Day remembers the First World War rather than both World Wars or other wars and conflicts. Marking the anniversary of Armistice Day really began in November 1919 when King George V held the first Armistice Day in the grounds of Buckingham Palace. Subsequently, the day was marked at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London [Photograph No. 1] and in most local communities after local war memorials were dedicated.

After the end of the Second World War, Britain and the Commonwealth countries moved the main day of 'Remembrance' to the second Sunday in November - Remembrance Sunday - and the marking of Armistice Day declined. However, since the 50th anniversary of the end of WW2 in 1995, the Royal British Legion and several other Veterans organisations have encouraged 'Remembrance' and the 'Two Minute Silence' on 11 November when Armistice Day falls on days other than Sundays. This was to try and bring 'Remembrance' into the everyday life of the nation on those days as well as Remembrance Sunday.

This British Legion initiative has been a largely successful idea. Marking the 'Two Minute Silence' at national and local memorials has become commonplace. Even those who are unable to visit one of these memorials will still keep a two minute silence wherever they happen to be.

Saturday, 11 November, 2017  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Armistice Day (11 November 2017)

On the morning of Saturday 11 November 2017, I happened to be at Keswick, Cumbria and attended a short Armistice Day commemoration at the Keswick War memorial [Photograph No. 2]. Among those present were many townsfolk, service veterans and relatives, visitors to the district, the Mayor of Keswick, Coucillor Susan Leighton, the Reverend Charles Hope (Vicar of St John's, Keswick), who reflected on the themes of loss, sacrifice and loyalty. The Last Post was sounded by trumpeter Graham Kendall. One of the local newspapers covering the Keswick district achieved its 6000th edition the same weekend as Remembrance weekend 2017 and included an image of the town memorial and a list of locals who lost their lives in WW1 and WW2 [Photograph No. 3].

Other local communities throughout Britain and the Commonwealth held similar Armistice Day services at 11.00 am. The main national remembrance of Armistice Day was at the National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire with an outdoor service at the Armed Forces Memorial.

So is Armistice Day still relevant in the 21st Century? Well, there are an increasing number of people who mark the day in addition to Remembrance Sunday. It is part of the everyday life of Britain and local communities and so Armistice Day must surely still be relevant.

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."

From: 'For the Fallen' by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869 - 1943)

Saturday, 11 November, 2017  

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