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Armistice commemorations, 100 years since the end of World War One

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By Jennifer Y Omiloli

Today marks 100 years since the end of World War I, with commemorations taking place around the world.

One hundred years ago today, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the First World War, which killed 40 million people, finally stopped.

Armistice Day is commemorated every year on 11 November to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning — the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918.

Today is Sunday, 11th day of November which is the 11th month of the year 2018. Which makes it is a perfect day to be remembered as Armistice day and the first World War centenary.

This is great history, and am so glad to see a day as this! Let’s take a look at the armistice.

The armistice initially expired after a period of 36 days. A formal peace agreement was only reached when the Treaty of Versailles was signed the following year.

The date is a national holiday in France, and was declared a national holiday in many Allied nations.

The first Armistice Day was held at Buckingham Palace, commencing with King George V hosting a “Banquet in Honour of the President of the French Republic” during the evening hours of 10 November 1919.

The first official Armistice Day events were subsequently held in the grounds of Buckingham Palace on the morning of 11 November 1919. This set the trend for a day of Remembrance for decades later.

In 1919, South African Sir Percy Fitzpatrick proposed a two-minute silence to Lord Milner. This had been a daily practice in Cape Town from April 1918 onward, since being proposed by Sir Harry Hands, and within weeks it had spread through the British Commonwealth after a Reuters correspondent cabled a description of this daily ritual to London.

People observe a two-minute moment of silence at 11:00 a.m. It is a sign of respect for, in the first minute, the roughly 20 million people who died in the war, and in the second minute dedicated to the living left behind, generally understood to be wives, children and families left behind but deeply affected by the conflict.

In Britain, beginning in 1939, the two-minute silence was moved to the Sunday nearest to 11 November in order not to interfere with wartime production should 11 November fall on a weekday.

After the end of World War II, most member states of the Commonwealth of Nations, like United Kingdom and (as Canada in 1931), moved most Armistice Day events to the nearest Sunday and officially began to commemorate both World Wars. They adopted the name ‘Remembrance Day’ or ‘Remembrance Sunday’.

Other countries also changed the name of the holiday just prior to or after World War II, to honor veterans of that and subsequent conflicts. The United States chose ‘Veterans Day’, to explicitly honor military veterans, including those participating in other conflicts.

Fast-forwarding to today, the Prince of Wales has led the nation in remembering those who gave their lives in the First World War as he laid the wreath at the Cenotaph.

For the first time ever he was joined by the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, marking a historic act of reconciliation between the two nations.

The Queen watched from the balcony of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office along with the Duchess of Cambridge and Duchess of Cornwall.

Armistice commemorations, 100 years since the end of World War One
The Queen watching the service at the Cenotaph from the balcony of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with the Duchesses of Cambridge and Cornwall CREDIT: PA

Remembrance services have been taking place all over Britain and Europe, which is an hour ahead, to mark the Armistice that ended the hostilities 100 years ago.

It is estimated that nine million military personnel were killed between July 28 1914 and November 11 1918.

Taking a look at Nigeria, with all the commotion happening in Jos, Kaduna, Maiduguri to mention a few, all boils down to religion, ethnicity and greed.

Looking back, we must remember the colossal tragedy of war, pay tribute to the many soldiers who have died since and stay far away from anything that craves way for conflicts which will in time lead to War!

Peace is not negotiable, greed is a major cause of conflict, this should be a reminder to every religion, tribe and race.

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