The 100th centenary of the end of the First World War will be celebrated this Sunday 11th November 2018. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 the armistice came into effect; men still poised to fight one another were stopped in almost mid battle in France. Church bells pealed and the guns fell silent. The physical losses had been horrendous. The total number of casualties, through war, destruction, disease, revolution and famine is in reality unknown because the conflict was so widespread.
At 05:30 on the morning of 11 November 1918, in a railway coach standing at a remote railway siding in the heart of the forest of Compiègne, Germany signed the Armistice Agreement that brought the war to an end.
Soon after, telegraph wires were humming with the message: “Hostilities will cease at 11.00 today November 11. Troops will stand fast on the line reached at that hour...”.
Remembrance Day, or Poppy Day as it is sometimes known, is observed every year on 11 November, or on the nearest Sunday to that date. How many people these days know what this date signifies? Over the years, many South Africans have lost sight of the significance of the term 'remembrance' in the military sense. This short article will attempt to rectify this.