This year marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that brought the First World War and its four years of armed conflict to an end.
On November 11, 1918, representatives of France, Great Britain and Germany met in a railway carriage in France to sign the historic document, paving the way for the peace negotiations that would culminate in the Treaty of Versailles, a document drafted five months later.
The anniversary of the armistice was observed the next year in Great Britain and this tradition quickly spread to the other Allied Nations.
The holiday was originally known as Armistice Day, but member states of the Commonwealth of Nations like Canada eventually adopted the name Remembrance Day.
We commemorate on this date, not only citizens who fought in the First World War but also those who fought in the Second World War and every other war and peacekeeping mission since.
Although the Allies won the conflict, Armistice Day wasn’t a day of unabashed celebration. Given the unspeakable horrors and death tolls in World War I, and likewise in World War II, November 11 became a day of solemn commemoration.
Hence the two minutes of silence we observe on this date, a tradition that goes back to the very first Armistice Day commemoration, in 1919.