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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jacob Koomen takes his bike out for a spin near his home in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Campbell Riverite to cycle length of Island to raise funds for cancer research

Long distance rides are no big deal for 73-year-old cyclist

Comox Strathcona Waste Management expects to go to tender this summer for the regional organics compost facility in Campbell River. File photo/Black Press
Comox Strathcona compost site should go to tender this summer

The regional organics facility is on target to open for the fall of 2022

WestJet in flight. Black Press file photo
Two COVID exposures on WestJet flight into Comox

The BC Centre for Disease Control has posted advisories for two separate… Continue reading

Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Busy day for Campbell River fire crews

Three incidents in rapid succession keep crews on their toes

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

Most Read