Today, November 11, 1918, at 11:00 a.m., the armistice (cessation of fighting) went into effect thus ending the bloodshed of the Great War – World War I. Four years of fighting were finally over. Millions of civilians and military were dead in the largest war the world had seen, up to that time.
The agreement to enactment of the armistice only stopped the ballistics. The treaty guaranteeing peace wasn’t signed until the following June 28, 1919 – five years to the day after Austria’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated which triggered the eruption of the war.
This day became known as Armistice Day throughout the world, so named because of the document that ended the hostilities. In the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth it is designated Remembrance Day in honour of all those who have died in the defence of the Crown. In the USA it is named Veteran’s Day as a tribute to all those who have defended this country.
Because of its profusion in the Flanders region of western Belgium and northern France, where the majority of the battles of the Western Front of the Great War happened, the poppy bloom was convenient to use to lay on the graves of those killed during the conflict. That is the reason for the popular poem commemorating the event and the fallen lives.
In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
we lived, felt dawn, saw sunsets 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.
“No more slaughter, no more maiming, no more mud and blood and no more killing and disemboweling of horses and mules – which was what I found most difficult to bear. No more of those hopeless dawns with the rain chilling the spirits, no more crouching in inadequate dug-outs scooped out of trench walls, no more dodging of sniper bullets, no more of that terrible shell-fire. No more shovelling up bits of men’s bodies and dumping them into sandbags, no more cries of “stretcher – bear – ERS!” No more of those beastly gas-masks and the odious smell of pear-drops which was deadly to the lumps, and no more writing of those dreadfully difficult letters to the next-of-kin of the dead.” ~ Lieutenant R. G. Dixon
“The Wheels of Darkness” by Lt. R. G. Dixon
A day to honour and to pay tribute. A day to remember and to salute. A day to vow never again.
Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride
Author’s Note: The next post entry here is planned for Monday, November 14, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “What Is It?”