The 11th Hour on the 11th Day of the 11th Month
November 11th has many names, but it signifies the same thing throughout the world – peace, honor, freedom. World War I involved 35 countries, lasted from 1914 to 1918, and took the lives of over 20 million soldiers. On November 11, 1918, a day which will be remembered forever, the fighting finally stopped. An armistice, or truce, was signed on the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month. Throughout the years, this day has taken different names in different countries.
France – November 11th has always remained Armistice Day. It is an official national holiday in France.
Canada – Canada and other countries in the British Commonwealth of Nations refer to this day as Remembrance Day. It is now considered a day to honor all soldiers who have fought in a war, not just WWI. The official national ceremonies are held at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. The ceremony includes the singing of “O Canada”, the national anthem, a gun salute, ringing of the bell tower and a two minute moment of silence at 11 AM.
USA – November 11th in the US is a national holiday called Veteran’s Day. It was originally celebrated to honor WWI heroes, and then it started recognizing WWII, Vietnam, and other war veterans. In 1968 a law was passed that proclaimed the holiday would be celebrated on the fourth Monday in October. After much protesting that November 11th was historically significant, Congress reversed the law. There are many celebrations throughout the United States and most citizens stop and have a moment of silence at 11 AM to honor those who have fought or are fighting so they can be free.
No matter what you chose to call it, November 11th is a special day in everyone’s hearts. It is a time to reflect and remember the sacrifices men and women made during World War I, as well as other wars that followed, in order to ensure peace. It is important on this day to give thanks for times of peace, and to remember who’s protecting your rights every day.