At the passing of the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, we stop for a minute of silence to remember those who have lost their lives in armed conflict.
At 11am Paris time, on November 11, 1918, the guns fell silent over the battlefields of the Western Front after the Armistice of Compiègne had been signed between 05.12 and 05.20 that same morning.
After more than four years, and tens of millions of military and civilian people on both sides either dead or wounded, the fighting was coming to an end.
World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919.
In Australia we have many memorial services for Remembrance Day.
In schools, shopping malls and several other types of public places people are called upon to stop what they are doing to observe a minute of silence.
The day is also observed outside the Commonwealth of Nations, and a number of them have declared it a national holiday. France and Belgium for instance.
In the USA ,they changed Remembrance Day to Veterans Day in 1954 to honour all their veterans. They too observe November 11 as a national holiday.
There were other armistices signed as World War I was ending. The Armistice of Villa Giusti, for instance, ended the fighting between Italy and Austria-Hungary on November 4, 1918.
Nowadays the Italians have been remembering their fallen on the first Sunday of November.
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In Poland, November 11 is Independence Day, because it’s the date in 1918 that Józef Piłsudski assumed control as their new Head of State while Poland was regaining its sovereignty.
2017 is the 99th anniversary of that Armistice of Compiègne.
The minute of silence we observe at 11am is to remember all of those who have suffered or we have lost, in all wars and armed conflicts before, during and after World War I.
In Canberra, the Remembrance Day National Ceremony includes a formal wreathlaying.
Many high-level dignitaries and diplomats will attend, as they do each year.
Australia’s Federation Guard and the Band of the Royal Military College, Duntroon will be on parade.
There will also be many local services held around the country.
Anticipate a start time earlier than 11am so that the schedule of proceedings can include the minute of silence.
Don’t forget to wear a red poppy as well. The World War I poem entitled In Flanders Fields inspired the adoption of the remembrance poppy.
They have been the symbol with which to remember lost soldiers since 1921.