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Thread: November 11: "Armistice Day"

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    November 11: "Armistice Day"

    Today is Armistice Day. How is this day observed in various countries?

    In America it is called Veterans Day. It is a legal federal holiday & a state holiday in all 50 states. However, in most of America it is public sector employees who have the day off & school children, most private sector employees do not take the day off. Veterans DAy is used to honor all Veterans, though prior to WWII it was WWI veterans who were honored. Parades honoring Veterans are held & there are some memorial services for deceased veterans. There are also many more American flags on displayed then normal.

    We also have a holiday called Memorial Day, celebrated the last Monday in May. It originated as a holiday to honor the war dead of the Civil War & now honors all US war dead. It is a more important holiday then Veterans Day as nearly all workers receive Memorial Day off. Memorial Day weekend normally kicks off the summer season which ends with Labor Day weekend (Labor Day being the first Monday in September).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Æmeric View Post
    Today is Armistice Day. How is this day observed in various countries?
    To be honest, I´ve never heard of this day until now. We don´t celebrate the end of the WW1, there´s no reason for it. We´ve lost the war (there were mainly internal reasons for it) and had to endure the servitude of the "peace" treaty of Versailles.

    We know about the Independence Day on 4th July when it comes to US holidays but that´s it for me and my relatives. Well ok, and halloween!

    "Judge of your natural character by what you do in your dreams" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    No such day, but there is a national mourning day for the war dead, somewhat similar to the Veterans Day, the Volkstrauertag, actually coming up this Sunday (Nov 15th, but it's not a fix date). Originally, it was to commemorate the dead German soldiers of WWI, but its significance became more inclusive (other nations and other conflicts).

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    I had the impression it was a major day of rememberance in some countries - Britian & the Commonwealth for example. But maybe it is losing significance with the passage of time.

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    Hmm, I think there's an Armistice Day in Belgium too, but maybe Chlodovech knows more.

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    Traditional lament, often played on Volkstrauertag at memorials for the fallen. Written by Ludwig Uhland in 1809, set to music by Friedrich Silcher in 1825.


    Ich hatt' einen Kameraden,
    Einen bessern findst du nit.
    Die Trommel schlug zum Streite,
    Er ging an meiner Seite
    |: In gleichem Schritt und Tritt. :|

    Eine Kugel kam geflogen:
    Gilt's mir oder gilt sie dir?
    Sie hat ihn weggerissen,
    Er liegt zu meinen Füßen
    |: Als wär's ein Stück von mir :|

    Will mir die Hand noch reichen,
    Derweil ich eben lad'.
    "Kann dir die Hand nicht geben,
    Bleib du im ew'gen Leben
    |: Mein guter Kamerad!" :|

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    Some student fraternities attend this day carrying old flags.

    Student members of the Germania and Arminia fraternities from Tübingen








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    N.C. Wyeth

    Quote Originally Posted by Æmeric View Post
    I had the impression it was a major day of rememberance in some countries - Britian & the Commonwealth for example. But maybe it is losing significance with the passage of time.
    Well Æmeric, it's just an impression, I think. The memory of the Great War has not been cherised like it's cherised today, ever since the interbellum.

    Each year we receive hundred thousands of Commonwealth visitors, especially around this time of year. Ypres seems to me like the Anglosaxon Mekka, but that is quite alright. Although battlefield tourism in Belgium is far from limited to the Brits and co, the French and Germans flock to the old frontline as well.

    In the case of a special remembrance day, marking a definite point in time, British royals will probably pay us a visit.

    So, World War One is a major issue over here, in Belgium, in France, the UK (where everybody who is somebody will wear a poppy during this time of the year), usually Flemish schoolkids know the story of WW1 better than that of any other historical event. In the days leading up to 11 november WW1 documentaries and movies are dominating the television schedules. Even the smallest villages have their own memorial, and a ceremony is held in their proximity every 11 november.

    The WW1 "industry", so to speak, is booming. In the last five years several new sites and musea were (re-)opened for the public, both here and in France. They draw increasingly more visitors every year. There's so much to see and do too, it would take several weeks to visit all the hauntingly beautiful hotspots of what used to be the Western front.






    “As brothers and sisters we knew instinctively that if we were going to stand in darkness, best we stand in a darkness we had made ourselves.” - Douglas Coupland

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    Merkel honours WWI dead in Paris



    French and German leaders stood side by side to honour the fallen of World War I on Armistice Day for the first time on Wednesday, laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

    "We are not commemorating the victory of one people over another but an ordeal that was equally terrible for each side," French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared before a military honour guard and crowds of well-wishers.

    Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a symbolic appearance to signal ever closer Franco-German ties, rekindled the flame on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe at the top of the Champs Elysees.

    French and German flags fluttered and military bands played each country's national anthem as the leaders laid a wreath at the tomb and vowed that never again would their nations wage war on each other.

    "We cannot wipe out the past but there is a force which can help us to bear it: The power of reconciliation," Merkel said in a speech which, like Sarkozy's, emphasised the two countries central role in European Union.

    "We show other countries in the world that it is possible to rise above the pain of the past," said Merkel, whose country has waged three major wars against France in the past century and a half.

    "Long live France, long live Germany, long live Franco-German friendship," each leader said as they ended their speeches.

    The commemoration came just two days after Sarkozy visited Berlin to attend along with other European leaders celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    German leaders have attended memorial events in France before, most notably when chancellor Helmut Kohl took president Francois Mitterrand's hand in Verdun, the scene of one of the fiercest battles of the war which lasted from 1914 to 1918 war.

    But Merkel's visit Wednesday was the first time a German leader attended the Armistice Day ceremony in Paris marking the defeat of Germany after four years of trench warfare that left millions dead.

    The two leaders observed a moment of silence at the Arc de Triomphe, flanked by soldiers from a Franco-German Brigade and officers from both countries' armed forces.

    The silence - at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month - marked the moment 91 years ago when the guns fell silent across Europe after Germany signed an Armistice Treaty with its Allied foes.

    Relations between the two leaders were strained last year over what the French president saw as Germany's slow reaction to the global economic crisis. But in recent months they have improved, and late last month Merkel flew to Paris for dinner with Sarkozy just hours after German lawmakers confirmed her return to office at the head of a new right-wing coalition.

    Sarkozy said this week he wanted to make November 11, which is a national holiday in France, "a day of French-German reconciliation in order to build a shared future."

    World War I pitted Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey against France, Britain, Russia, Italy, and, from 1917, the United States. Much of the fighting, which left around 10 million dead, happened in northern France and was characterised by horrific trench warfare.

    Far from being "The War to End All Wars", the so-called Great War merely set the tone for the 20th century's litany of brutality, although in terms of sheer mass killing on the battlefield it has rarely been equalled since.
    http://www.thelocal.de/national/20091111-23193.html

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