November 11, 2020
Remembrance Day, as it is known in the Commonwealth, and Veterans Day, as it is known in the Americas, is celebrated every November 11.
Remembrance Day has its roots in the Armistice signed at the end of WWI, becoming immortalized as the day the Great War ended. However, the Armistice – agreement to ceasefire on both sides – which was signed on 11 Novermber 1918, did not formally become the end of the war until the Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28 June 1919. The ceasefire did however last for the full duration between the armistice and the peace treaty being signed.
Following the outbreak of WWII, the Commonwealth nations decided to change the name from Armistice Day to Remembrance Day to honour all the fallen and not just those of WWI.
During WWII and in the many wars that would follow, including the Vietnam war, the Gulf war, Afghanistan and Iraq, millions more would perish as servicemen from all around the world fought for their countries.
Hence, Remembrance and Veterans Day celebrate the bravery of these service personnel, both fallen and returned heroes, and gives thanks and recognition for the service that they have given.
Large celebrations and commemorations often take place, including ‘Remembrance Sunday’ across the Commonwealth, the Sunday closest to the 11th of November, where crowds gather to mark their respect with a 2 minute display of silence, and Veterans festivals in the US such as the celebrations we visited in San Diego.
2020 has marked other important war anniversaries, most notably the end of WWII in Europe and the Pacific, and the liberation of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp 75 years ago, and the beginning of the reunification of Vietnam 45 years ago following the end of the Vietnam war.
Main image: World War I Cemetery in The Somme Valley, Pilot Productions.