At 5AM on November 11, 1918, Germany signed an armistice in which the nation agreed to cease hostilities. Five hours later, at 11AM, the guns went silent. WWI had ended.
The armistice initially ran for 30 days but was regularly renewed until the formal peace treaty was signed at Versailles the following year. Should the Germans have deviated in any way from the terms of the armistice the Allies warned that a resumption of hostilities would begin within 48 hours.
The date was declared a national holiday in many allied nations, to commemorate those members of the armed forces who were killed during war. An exception is in Italy, where the end of the war is commemorated on November 4, the day of the Armistice of Villa Giusti. After WWII, the name of the holiday was changed to "VETERANS DAY" in the United States and to Remembrance Day in countries of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Armistice Day remains an official holiday in France. It is also an official holiday in Belgium where it also known as the Day of Peace in the Flanders Fields.
Today, we honor all of our veterans and while there will be many parades, ceremonies and even a few speeches, take a moment and remember those who celebrated that first Armistice Day back in 1918.
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