11th day of 11th month: War dead honoured on Armistice Day

The bell of Parliament’s Big Ben clock tower sounded the hour in London

France’s President Emmanuel Macron stands in front of the Tomb of the Unknown soldier under the Arc de Triomphe during the Armistice Day ceremonies marking the end of World War I, in Paris, France, Saturday, Nov. 11. (Thibault Camus, Pool/AP)

Millions of people in Britain and France paused to remember the victims of war Saturday on Armistice Day, which marks the anniversary of the end of World War I.

Across Britain, people stopped in streets, squares and railway stations for two minutes of silence starting at 11 a.m. The moment — the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month — marked 99 years since the guns fell silent at the end of the Great War on Nov. 11, 1918.

In London, the bell of Parliament’s Big Ben clock tower sounded the hour for the first time since it was halted for repairs in August.

Many Britons wore red paper poppies, symbolizing the flowers that bloomed amid the carnage of World War I’s Western Front. Armistice Day originally commemorated the millions of who died in the Great War, but now also remembers those killed in World War II and subsequent conflicts.

Across the Channel, French President Emmanuel Macron led a solemn ceremony on Paris’ Champs-Elysees, laying a wreath at the statue of wartime French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, a key architect of peace between the great powers. Macron then inspected French troops and laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe.

Former French Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande also attended the ceremony, which attracted crowds despite the drizzle.

On Sunday, Queen Elizabeth II, British political leaders and dignitaries will attend a Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph war memorial in London.

Next year France will host a grand Armistice centenary, marking 100 years since the war’s end in 1918 with envoys from 80 nations.

Poland also held events Saturday to celebrate nation’s Independence Day, when it regained its sovereignty at the end of World War I after being wiped off the map for more than a century.

Flags fluttered across the country and television news presenters wore pins in the colours of the national flag.

In Warsaw, Polish President Andrzej Duda oversaw ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, walking past a military guard before flags were raised and cannons rang out in a salute. After delivering a speech, he took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the monument.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Bamfield Road safety concerns resurface after fatal bus crash

Huu-ay-aht First Nations wants a safe route between Bamfield and Port Alberni

2019 FEDERAL ELECTION: Meet the candidates for the Courtenay-Alberni riding

In an effort to inform the Courtenay-Alberni riding constituents, we have supplied… Continue reading

City of Port Alberni offers support after fatal bus crash

Two University of Victoria students killed after crash en route to Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre

Participants double at Parkinson’s Superwalk in Port Alberni

Second annual event also saw an increase in funds raised

Alberni School District considers three name changes

Neill Elementary, Ucluelet Secondary and school district identified for new names

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Scheer makes quick campaign stop in Comox

Conservative leader highlights tax promises early in campaign

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Most Read