The history of Remembrance Day in Australia goes back over 100 years. It is essential that Australians realise why on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month each year we honour the memory of those who served this great nation.

The following is from the Australian War Memorial’s page on the origin of Remembrance day.

“At 11 am on 11 November 1918 the guns on the Western Front fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare. The allied armies had driven the German invaders back, having inflicted heavy defeats upon them over the preceding four months. In November the Germans called for an armistice (suspension of fighting) to secure a peace settlement. They accepted allied terms that amounted to an unconditional surrender.”

“The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month attained a special significance in the post-war years. The moment when hostilities ceased on the Western Front became universally associated with the remembrance of those who had died in the war. This first modern world conflict had brought about the mobilisation of over 70 million people and left between 9 and 13 million dead, perhaps as many as one-third of them with no known grave. The allied nations chose this day and time for the commemoration of their war dead.”

“After the end of the Second World War, the Australian and British governments changed the name to Remembrance Day. Armistice Day was no longer an appropriate title for a day which would commemorate all war dead.”

“In Australia on the 75th anniversary of the armistice in 1993 Remembrance Day ceremonies again became the focus of national attention. The remains of an unknown Australian soldier, exhumed from a First World War military cemetery in France, were ceremonially entombed in the Memorial’s Hall of Memory. Remembrance Day ceremonies were conducted simultaneously in towns and cities all over the country, culminating at the moment of burial at 11 am and coinciding with the traditional two minutes’ silence. This ceremony, which touched a chord across the Australian nation, re-established Remembrance Day as a significant day of commemoration.”

“Four years later, in 1997, Governor-General Sir William Deane issued a proclamation formally declaring 11 November to be Remembrance Day, urging all Australians to observe one minute’s silence at 11 am on 11 November each year to remember those who died or suffered for Australia’s cause in all wars and armed conflicts.”

The picture above was taken by an unknown photographer. It captures the last shots that were fired before the armistice on 11 November 1918.

Sadly, the guns of war have never remained silent for long.

It is the brave men and women who choose to serve in defence of this nation that stands between us and the guns of war.

Their efforts and sacrifices are the reason our nation has peace, and we can live our lives at home blessedly free from the sounds of war.

The least we can do in return is take 1 minute of silence on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to remember them.

Lest we forget.


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