On the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, a minute’s silence is observed and dedicated to those soldiers who died fighting to protect the nation.
At 11am on 11 November 1918, the guns on the Western Front fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare. The Germans called for an armistice (suspension of fighting) in order to secure a peace settlement. They accepted the allied terms of unconditional surrender.
The conflict had mobilised over 70 million people, left between 9 and 13 million dead, and as many as one third of these with no grave.
The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month attained a special significance in the post-war years. It became universally associated with the remembrance of those who had died in the war.
Originally known as Armistice Day, it was renamed Remembrance Day after World War Two to commemorate those who were killed in both World Wars.
Today the loss of Australian lives from all wars and conflicts is commemorated on Remembrance Day.
We will remember them. Lest we forget.
The Unknown Soldier
On 11 November 1920, the second anniversary of the Armistice, the commemoration became a funeral when the remains of an unknown soldier were returned from the battlefields of the Western Front.
The remains were interred with full military honours in Westminster Abbey in London. The entombment attracted over one million people who came to pay their respects.
In Australia, on the 75th anniversary of the armistice in 1993, Remembrance Day ceremonies again became the focus of national attention.
The remains of an unknown Australian soldier exhumed from a First World War military cemetery in France, were ceremonially entombed in the Australian War Memorial's Hall of Memory.
Remembrance Day ceremonies were conducted simultaneously in towns and cities all over the country, culminating at the moment of burial at 11.00am and coinciding with the traditional two minutes' silence.