Armistice Day, 1918

Did everyone make a wish at 11:11 on 11/11?

That’s okay; I forgot too. I think I was conjugating French verbs or something equally boring.

But a very important historical event occurred on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month… the armistice between the Allies and Germany!

Soldiers celebrate the armistice.

Thus, November 11 is known as Armistice Day, Veteran’s Day, and Remembrance Day in different countries.

Depending on where you live, you may be seeing a lot of poppies. This is because poppies are a symbol of remembrance for those who have died in war. The symbol of the poppy was inspired by the poem “In Flanders’ Fields” written by Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. The poem describes how poppies would grow in the ground over dead soldiers’ bodies.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

McCrae’s poem, written in 1915, was used as propaganda.

I used to not like studying the First World War. It was just the war that we briefly studied before World War II, which was when things got interesting. Oh, how wrong I was. World War I is fascinating! It only took an Oscar-winning movie and an enthusiastic IB History of the Americas teacher to persuade me.

However, as interesting as World War I is, it was a also a tragic period of history in which 16 million people lost their lives and 20 million were injured. These numbers do not take into consideration the social effects of the war. Many soldiers returned home with PTSD; the men and women who came of age during this period were called “The Lost Generation,” and war was no longer viewed as a positive and glorious means of achieving a country’s goals.

Armistice Day became Veteran’s Day in America after World War II as a day to remember not only those who fought in World War I, but all of our veterans.

So I would like to take a moment to thank all veteran’s for their service- for having enough courage to fight overseas in war and having the courage to come back home and face a different set of struggles.

Thank you.

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One thought on “Armistice Day, 1918

  1. Pingback: Wilson’s Fourteen Points, 1918 | History/Herstory

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