This Vet­er­ans Day a spe­cial oc­ca­sion

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

TO­MOR­ROW is Vet­er­ans Day, but this year it’s spe­cial – it’s the 100th an­niver­sary of the un­of­fi­cial end of World War I.

The peace treaty wasn’t signed un­til later, but Novem­ber 11, 1918 – at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month – is when a truce called an armistice (pro­nounced ARM-iss-tiss) was signed and the fight­ing stopped.

One year later, Pres­i­dent Woodrow Wil­son de­clared Novem­ber 11 Armistice Day. Other coun­tries did the same, some call­ing it Re­mem­brance Day. In the US, Armistice Day was re­named Vet­er­ans Day in 1954.

World War I was one of his­tory’s largest wars. Most of the fight­ing was in Europe, but 30-plus coun­tries took part, in­clud­ing the US. More than 29 mil­lion sol­diers world­wide died or were wounded and an es­ti­mated 13 mil­lion civil­ians died – a hor­rific toll that led to it be­ing branded “the war to end all wars”.

Each year, a US com­pe­ti­tion is held to de­sign a poster for Vet­er­ans Day. The win­ning en­try ap­pears on pins and on the cover of the pro­gramme for a cer­e­mony at Ar­ling­ton Na­tional Ceme­tery.

This year’s theme, “The War to End All Wars”, drew about 80 en­tries. Adam Grimm, whose de­sign won, kept it sim­ple. His poster has a large red poppy, the world­wide sym­bol for re­mem­ber­ing World War The Word War I trenches at the Main de Mas­siges bat­tle­field be­tween the Cham­pagne and Ar­gonne fronts who was taken and lost sev­eral times by French and Ger­man troops be­tween Septem­ber 1914 and Septem­ber 1915, as France pre­pares to mark the cen­te­nial com­mem­o­ra­tion of the First World War Armistice Day, in Mas­siges, France,this week. PIC­TURE: REUTERS

I; barbed wire to show the bru­tal­ity of the war; and the pink hue of a ris­ing or set­ting sun, show­ing the pas­sage of time.

Me­mo­rial Day is an­other US hol­i­day re­lated to the mil­i­tary. It be­gan as Dec­o­ra­tion Day in the 1860s, af­ter the Amer­i­can Civil War. Af­ter World War I, its mean­ing changed. It hon­ours US mil­i­tary who died in any con­flict and is ob­served on the last Mon­day in May.

Vet­er­ans Day also re­flects a new mean­ing from the orig­i­nal Armistice Day, which hon­oured all who served in World War I, but

es­pe­cially those who died. By 1954, the US had fought in World War II and the Korean War. Law­mak­ers de­cided to re­name the day to hon­our all Amer­i­can mil­i­tary, past and present, whether they served in war or peace.

In the 1970s, Vet­er­ans Day was ob­served on the fourth Mon­day in Oc­to­ber so work­ers could have a three- day week­end, but many peo­ple liked the hol­i­day’s con­nec­tion to the armistice sign­ing so, since 1978, US vet­er­ans have been of­fi­cially hon­oured on Novem­ber 11. – Wash­ing­ton Post

Ger­man, French and Euro­pean flags fly above Fort de Douau­mont, at Douau­mont, near Ver­dun, as France pre­pares to mark the cen­te­nial com­mem­o­ra­tion of the First World War Armistice Day, France, this week. Pic­ture: REUTERS

A pho­to­graph of Cana­dian sol­dier Fredrick Ge­orge Cop­pins adorns a cross placed in the Field of Re­mem­brance at West­min­ster Abbey in Lon­don.PIC­TURE: AP

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