Armistice Day

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, New Zealand will join nations around the world in commemorating the Armistice that brought an end to the First World War in 1918. The Armistice itself is a document that was signed by all the warring parties that marked a victory for the Allies, and a defeat for Germany who then retreated their troops back onto German soil.

This year is a particularly important occasion, as it will mark 100 years since the cannons fell silent; when the world stopped to rejoice on the peace that had once again been restored, and also to reflect on the horror that had engulfed so much of the world for the previous four years.

Tragically, for many, it was a time to mourn those who had lost their lives: an estimated 16 million soldiers and civilians from over 30 nations were the casualties of what was considered at the time to be the war to end all wars.

It is perhaps difficult now to comprehend the sheer weariness and disillusionment felt about the war at the time; a sentiment surely experienced by all those nations involved. And so, when news of the Armistice broke in New Zealand, our country came to a standstill. There were celebrations and processions down the street and people left their work, homes and schools to celebrate.

One hundred years on from Armistice Day, towns like Ashburton will come together to reflect on the terrible impacts of the First World War. Although the generation who lived through this time are largely no longer with us, we will remember those whose names appear on war memorials and whose memory lives on down their family lines. We’ll take a moment to consider the meaning of peace and what it brings to our very way of life today. A kind of peace that was fought for by thousands of brave soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice.

I will be attending the Ashburton Returned and Services’ Association commemorations at 11.00am at the Cenotaph in Baring Square West on Sunday. There will also be Armistice Day commemorations at the Mt Hutt Memorial Hall in Methven at that time. Please join me on this important day in paying your respects and to remember.  ​

Page reviewed: 08 Nov 2018 5:03pm