All Australians are encouraged to pause on Remembrance Day 2018, the centenary of the First World War Armistice, and remember the men and women who have suffered and died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.
FILE IMAGE: While the Armistice that was signed at 5.10am on 11 November 1918 officially ended the war at 11am that day, war’s end was already on the cards – the (New York) Evening World declaring the war over in its 7 November issue. Thousands of lives were lost in those final days even in the hours between 5.10am and 11am on 11/11/1918. (Library of Congress image)
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said Remembrance Day this year represented a significant chapter in Australia’s military history, marking 100 years since the Armistice was signed, ending the fighting during the First World War.
“On 11 November 1918 at 11am, the guns on the Western Front fell silent and the most destructive war the modern world had seen was all but over and countries around the world celebrated,” Mr Chester said.
“But the war came at great cost to our young nation and, of the some 416,000 who enlisted, more than 60,000 never returned home.
“It affected every community, large and small, across Australia.
“Over the following century, our nation has been called on numerous times and tragically today more than 102,000 names are listed on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial.
“Remembrance Day is a time for us as a nation to unite in a minute of solemn respect and admiration for those who served and died in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.”
Remembrance Day was originally called Armistice Day and two minutes’ silence was observed for the very first time at 11am on 11 November 1919 to remember those who had died.
After the Second World War, the Australian government agreed to the United Kingdom’s proposal to rename Armistice Day to Remembrance Day, to commemorate those who were killed in both World Wars.
Mr Chester said almost two million men and women have worn with pride the uniforms of the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force and he encouraged all Australians to participate in their local Remembrance Day commemorations.
“By stopping for a minute’s silence, and acknowledging those who have served and continue to serve our country, we can all show our current and former serving defence personnel and their families that they won’t be forgotten.
“In this, the final year of the Anzac Centenary, it is also vitally important that we instil an ongoing sense of remembrance, respect and reflection in future generations.”
Mr Chester will represent the Australian Government at a commemorative service at the Australian National Memorial near Villers-Bretonneux, France, on Sunday. This service will be broadcast live on ABC and Facebook.