Monday November 11, 1918, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, marked the end of the First World War through the armistice agreement, hence giving way to “Armistice Day”. Armistice means that an agreement has been reached by two opposing sides to stop fighting in a war. The opposing sides in what is also known as “The Great War” involved Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire and they battled the Allied Powers which included Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Japan, and the United States. The war began in 1914 and ended in 1918.
In 1931, Armistice Day became Remembrance Day to focus on remembering those who fought for freedom. It was also at this time that Thanksgiving, which had been held on the Monday before Remembrance Day since 1921, was moved to a different day in October where it has been observed since.
One of the symbols we wear every year as we observe Remembrance Day is the poppy, for many annually recognized through the words of Canadian poet and physician, John McCrea and his poem “Flanders Field”. The poppy is a flower that grew on the battlefields of the war. The warmuseum.ca website recognizes that “the flowers often overgrew the mass graves left by battles. During the First World War, enormous artillery bombardments completely disrupted the landscape, infusing the chalk soils with lime. The poppies thrived in the environment, their colours standing out against the blasted terrain.” They also identify that approximately 61,000 Canadians perished in World War 1 and another 172,000 wounded from the compliment of 619, 636 that were enlisted.
While we enjoy our freedom daily due to the brave and selfless actions of those who defended it, on this day, November 11th we should take time to thank them for their sacrifice. Please support the memory of those who secured your freedom by purchasing and wearing a poppy.
To learn more about Remembrance Day, consider visiting one of the many references I’ve provided in the links below.
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