Veterans Day 2006

Today is Veterans Day in America and Remembrance Day in Europe. Poppies are used to symbolize the fields of France and the trench warfare of WWI. In Britain a major observance will also take place on Remembrance Sunday (tomorrow).

In the UK most people wear special paper and plastic poppies in the lapel, some with a sprig of leaf on them. Even school children buy them (whether by choice or not), and usually all figures in the public eye (soccer managers, newscasters etc.).

Veterans Day marks the anniversary of the coming into effect of the Armistice during WWI (technically an armistice is a cease-fire so the war did not end until the signing of the peace treaty at the Paris Peace Conference* in June 1919, but most people disregard this and count the war as lasting from 1914-18).

The Armistice came into effect (on purpose) on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day or the eleventh month, but had actually been agreed earlier that morning around 6am in the Compi├Ęgne Forest, just north of Paris. It was signed by General Foch for the Allies and a guy called Matthias Erzberger for the Germans at a special railroad siding in the forest.

Interestingly enough while writing this entry I learned that the armistice for WWII was also signed in the same railroad siding!

*This wikipedia entry is not that great, but maybe will get better over time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think they did that to "screw" with generations of schoolchildren studying history. Ha!
Exam question: The armistice for which war was signed in a railroad siding in a forest north of Paris?
A. The American Revolution
C. The War on Poverty
d. WWI