Thursday, 10 November 2011


“In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.” - José Narosky

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day here in Australia. This is because the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month marks the signing of the Armistice, on 11th November 1918, which signalled the end of World War One. At 11 a.m. on 11th November 1918, the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare. Initially, when WWI ended, the day was known as Armistice Day but was renamed Remembrance Day after WWII. In the USA the day is known as Veterans’ Day.

Each year Australians observe one minute’s silence at 11 a.m. on 11th November, in memory of all those men and women who have died or suffered in all wars, conflicts and peace operations. This is a simple yet very effective way of remembering the massive loss of life and immense suffering that humankind has been subjected to in all of the various armed conflicts that have blotted recorded history.

In Australia, Remembrance Day ceremonies are held in almost every city and town across Australia. All major cities have a Shrine of Remembrance and every town has a monument honouring the fallen Anzacs. Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance and the Australian War Memorial in Canberra hold formal ceremonies that are very well organised and well-attended. This year, ceremonies will be very significant for the families of Australian soldiers recently killed in Afghanistan.

The National Remembrance Day Ceremony includes a formal wreathlaying and will be attended by many high level dignitaries and diplomats. Australian’s Federation Guard and the Band of the Royal Military College will be on parade. Members of the public are of course also invited to join the National Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial.

Here is a poem by Wilfred Owen, one of the soldier-poets of WWI, who unfortunately was killed a few days before Armistice…

Parable of the Old Men and the Young

So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
And took the fire with him, and a knife.
And as they sojourned both of them together,
Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
And builded parapets and trenches there,
And stretchéd forth the knife to slay his son.
When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
Neither do anything to him. Behold,
A ram caught in a thicket by its horns;
Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.
But the old man would not so, but slew his son…

Wilfred Owen (1893 – 1918)

armistice |ˈärməstis| noun
An agreement made by opposing sides in a war to stop fighting for a certain time; a truce.
ORIGIN early 18th century: From French, or from modern Latin armistitium, from arma ‘arms’ (see arm2) + -stitium ‘stoppage.’


  1. thanks for the history lesson. always interesting stopping by at your place...
    the picture on your previous post is just amazing : )

  2. Nicholas, this day always brings painful memories to me as we have several fallen soldiers in our family.
    The poem is very poignant as it brings to the fore the cruelty of the warmongers who think of nothing sacrificing the young men that are sent to the battlefield to fight wars that benefit the few and mighty.
    Lest we forget!