Decades have passed since the Armistice that ended World War 1, “The War to end all Wars.” Since that time, conflicts have continued to rage around the globe, but we still hold fast to the idea that peace is possible, and we continue to work towards that goal.
Remembrance Day in Australia commemorates the noble sacrifices of armed forces and civilians during times of war. At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, one minute of silence is observed across the country to mark the cessation of hostilities on the Western front during WW1 after over four years of gruesome warfare.
The moment in 1918 when hostilities ceased was originally named Armistice Day, becoming a time when allied nations honoured the brave sacrifices made by all who fought and lost their lives during the First World War. At the end of the Second World War, the Australian and British governments renamed November 11 Remembrance Day to mark and remember all who have fallen in times of war. The ritual of observing one minute of silence was first proposed by Australian journalist Edward Honey in 1918 and continues to be universally practiced on Remembrance Day each year.
Unlike ANZAC Day, Remembrance Day is not a public holiday in Australia but services are held at 11am at War Memorials and cenotaphs in suburbs and towns across the country. Traditionally, the Last Post is sounded by a bugler followed by one minute of silence. After the minute of silence, flags are raised from half-mast to masthead as Rouse is played.
Remembrance Day is observed across the world in the United Kingdom, Canada, France, South Africa, The United States of America, Bermuda, Ireland and New Zealand as well as in Australia. In many of these locations, two minutes of silence is observed at 11am.
Men and women in Australia and around the world have made sacrifices, many have given their lives. Yet the freedom we enjoy was secured at a price. Since Federation, Australian units have served in the Boer War, the Boxer Rebellion, World War I, World War II, Korea, the Malayan Emergency, the Indonesian Confrontation, Vietnam, the Gulf War, the War against Terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq, and in many Peace Keeping Operations around the world.
They gave their lives to ensure that the things we hold dear as Australians would endure for future generations.