Centenary of Armistice
This year we acknowledge the Centenary of the First World War Armistice, which was a celebration at the time. We must also acknowledge its evolution into what we now know as 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) in order to secure a peace settlement.
The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month attained a special significance in the post-war years. It became universally associated with the remembrance of those who had died in the war. More than 330,000 Australians served overseas during the Great War. More than 60,000 of them had died.
Australians across the country are encouraged to mark the Centenary of the Armistice and observe one minute’s silence at 11am in memory of those who died or suffered in the First World War and all wars and armed conflicts since.
Historically the NSW Premier has hosted the State's Remembrance Day Service at the Cenotaph in Martin Place. However to mark the 100th anniversary of the ending of the First World War and the completion of the Anzac Memorial Centenary Project, the 2018 Remembrance Day Service will be held at the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park. Visit the Centenary of Anzac What's On guide for more information.
Locally led commemorative events and activities are key to sustaining remembrance. The Centenary of Armistice is an even greater opportunity to involve the community. The Department of Premier and Cabinet and the NSW Office for Veterans Affairs have prepared a suite of materials to to help you commemorate this important day.
Pause to remember
The tradition of stopping at 11am started on the very first anniversary of Armistice Day in 1919.
In October 1919 Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, a South African, suggested a period of silence on Armistice Day (now commonly known as Remembrance Day) in all the countries of the Empire.
On 6 November 1919, the King sent a special message to the people of the Commonwealth: I believe that my people in every part of the Empire fervently wish to perpetuate the memory of that Great Deliverance, and of those who laid down their lives to achieve it. The King requested that a complete suspension of all our normal activities be observed for two minutes at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month so that in perfect stillness the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the Glorious Dead.
The tradition continues today.
The moment of reflection can be taken after the Last Post has sounded. You can download an MP3 audio file of the bugle call to support your commemoration. MP3 audio file of the bugle call
Image: A crowd in Martin Place celebrate the news of the signing of the armistice - Courtesy Australian War Memorial