Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Armistice Day

The Armistice that ended the Great war was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918.

A moving memorial service on Armistice Day marked the passing of the First World War generation at Westminster Abbey.

The final three veterans of the war living in Britain died this year. William Stone died in January at the age of 108, followed by Henry Allingham, 113, and Harry Patch, 111, in July. Heads of the armed forces were joined by the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and senior politicians for the traditional two-minute silence to remember those who died for their country.

"The Great War was over. Lives, friendships, families, societies, nations had been shattered. Everything had changed," said the Very Rev Dr John Hall, Dean of Westminster, in his service recalling when the guns fell silent at the end of the war.

"On this day two years later and at this hour, an unknown warrior, chosen at random to represent all those of these islands who had fought and died, accorded the highest honour of a state funeral, was buried here."

He continued: "We remember, with grief, the gas and the mud, the barbed wire, the bombardment, the terror, the telegram; and, with gratitude, the courage and sacrifice."

It is the end of an era that was both tragic and brave.

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