Armistice Day 2016

This year marks 98 years since  “The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” – the moment when First World War hostilities ceased on the Western Front in 1918, with the signing of the Armistice.

The 2016 Armistice Day RSA service in Christchurch is at 11am Friday 11 November on the Bridge of Remembrance. This is the first Armistice Day service on the Bridge since the earthquake of 2011. It’s a most appropriate location, since the Bridge of Remembrance was opened on Armistice Day 11 November 1924. The Bridge is dedicated to the memory of those who took part in World War I, with further plaques added later to commemorate the battlefields of World War II.

Bridge of Remembrance rededication
Anzac Day, Monday 25 April 2016. Flickr 2016-04-25-IMG_3756

More about Armistice Day and the Bridge of Remembrance

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Photo of Crowd in Cathedral Square, Christchurch, celebrating Armistice Day.
Crowd in Cathedral Square, Christchurch, celebrating Armistice Day. Head, Samuel Heath, d 1948 :Negatives. Ref: 1/1-007108-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22898377

Armistice Day in the news

Wednesday 11 November is Armistice Day, when we remember New Zealanders and others who served in the First World War and other conflicts since. 2015 is 97 years since the agreement that ended fighting in the First World War came into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

The Bridge of Remembrance with Cashel Street in the background [193-?] CCL PhotoCD 10, IMG0073
he Bridge of Remembrance with Cashel Street in the background [193-?] CCL PhotoCD 10, IMG0073
While Anzac Day has become the main memorial day in New Zealand and Australia, events still take place on Armistice Day. Using resources such as Papers Past we can find out more about how the day has been celebrated and then commemorated over time.

On 13 November 1918, in a article called ‘the city rejoices with wild enthusiasm‘ the Star records:

Never before in the history of the city has such intense enthusiasm been displayed as yesterday, when the news of the signing of the armistice with Germany was received. The people streamed into the town, leaving the suburbs all but deserted. Throughout, the tramwaymen stuck heroically to their tasks, this factor being a large one in the general success of the celebrations.

A year later the Press laments how long it took to move from an armistice to a final peace treaty:

Just as nobody imagined, when the war broke out, that it would last for over four years, so few people, on November 11th last year, supposed that the world would, after twelve months, be as far as it is from a return to normal conditions.

By 1935 another article in The Press states:

The celebration of Armistice Day this year will show, as previous celebrations have shown, that the anniversary does not grow less poignant or less significant with the passage of time.

This sentiment is still true.