Nov 11, 2018: World commemorates end of World War I
WORLD - The First World War ended on Nov 11, 1918, at 11 am – the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Centenary commemorations will echo the joy at the armistice that ended four years of fighting, while remembering the staggering devastation of the global conflict.
France is expected to invite the heads of state and government of the 80 belligerent nations to observe the anniversary at an international ceremony, capping five years of commemorative events.
Encyclopedia Britannica describes the so-called War to End All Wars as virtually unprecedented in the slaughter, carnage, and destruction it caused. It pitted the Central Powers – mainly Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey – against the Allies – mainly France, Great Britain, Russia, Italy, Japan, and, from 1917, the United States. Before it ended with the defeat of the Central Powers, an estimated nine million soldiers had been killed, with 21 million wounded. Uncountable numbers of civilians were killed, or died from disease, starvation or exposure. World War I also introduced chemical weapons to warfare.
When the armistice was announced in 1918, Britain marked its relief with two minutes of silence, and bells rang out worldwide.
Reuters notes that Germans aren’t sure how, or even if, they should commemorate a war that cost them 13 per cent of their territory, all their colonies, huge reparations and 2.5 million lives.
Bells in churches and cathedrals in Britain and elsewhere will ring out again on Nov 11, 2018, and Big Ben in London will strike to mark the armistice. Ahead of the centenary, commemoration organizers in Britain began recruiting some 1,400 bell ringers for the 2018 event to honor the 1,400 bell ringers known to have died in the conflict. Wreaths will be laid at the Cenotaph in London, and similar ceremonies will be held in cities around the world.
Britain plans a national Lest We Forget concert as part of the government’s centenary program. The Internet has become a rich source of information about other armistice commemorations.