Roaring Chorus for Armistice
New Zealanders are responding on land and at sea to WW100’s call to create a Roaring Chorus to mark the centenary of the Armistice that ended World War I in 1918.
At 11.02am this Sunday a cacophony of joyful noise will break the twominute silence of remembrance being observed nationwide at 11am, recapturing the newfound peace and hope for the future that the signing of the Armistice brought.
There are multiple community commemorations nationwide incorporating a Roaring Chorus, including vintage car horns, a mine siren, songs, drumming, cheering, church bells, and even fire sirens and ship horns.
Director of the First World War Centenary Programme WW100, Sarah Davies, says the Roaring Chorus invites communities to break the silence in a way that is relevant to them, and it is great that so many communities and organisations are joining the campaign.
“After four years of remembrance, we can now reconnect with the sense of joy and relief that swept the county when news of the end of fighting came through. The thanksgiving and jubilation over-whelmed the New Zealanders who had endured so much hardship and loss since 1914.”
Work and school was abandoned for the day, and the streets of towns and cities filled with thousands of people coming together in spontaneous celebration. The Evening Post in 1918 described the scene in Wellington: “There were songs and cheers, miscellaneous pipings and blastings, and tootings and rattlings — a roaring chorus of gladsome sounds.”
An historic account from nurse Isobel Haresnape, which features on the WW100 Programme Office YouTube channel, describes the celebrations on Queen St as: “. . . a tremendous noise of sirens and bell ringing, and voices and feet running . . . strangers kissed strangers. Everyone was dancing to the bands. People [were] very hysterically excited, really. Everyone was wanting to know what it was all about, and I was one of them, and I heard someone say “It’s peace!”