MOURNING HAS BROKEN
How Armistice was marked and how memory of WWI has changed The First World War was a global conflict by not only involving the major political and military powers of the day, but also the vast numbers of countries and people around the world in which they had control or influence.
As such, when the Armistice came, people and places thousands of miles apart shared in celebration and, in time and in their own way, commemoration and remembrance that endures to this day.
In the USA the news was greeted with ecstatic celebrations in the streets of all the major towns and cities. Although they did at first commemorate Armistice Day, 11 November in the US is now Veterans Day and is focussed on veterans living and dead but not those who fell in battle. Memorial Day remembers those killed in action and has its roots in the American Civil War.
With many men fighting in WWI the importance to Australia and New Zealand of both Armistice Day and Remembrance Day is undiminished. They in turn have Anzac Day which specifically commemorates their country’s actions in Gallipoli during WWI and is still a public holiday in both countries.
As a member of the Empire and later the Commonwealth, Canada has continued to commemorate Armistice Day, although like Britain and others it has changed to Remembrance Day or Remembrance Sunday as the Sunday closest to 11 Nov each year. Canadian veterans are treated to free transport on that day.
In France and Belgium Armistice Day has been commemorated from the beginning and today is still a national holiday for both countries.
Wooden crosses mark the first resting places of the fallen