Sunday, November 11, 2007

Armistice Day: All Quiet on the Western Front

At eleven a.m. on November 11, 1918, a cease-fire went into effect in France between the Allied Powers and Germany, effectively ending "The War to End All Wars."

This day was thereafter known as Armistice Day in the United States and Remembrance Day in the British Commonwealth. For many years, a moment of silence was observed or bells tolled at "the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month." This practice has gradually fallen into disuse as the "Great War" fades in memory.

The last American veteran of World War I is believed to have died in February 2007. Retired Corporal Harold V. Ramsey passed away in Portland, Oregon, one month before his 109th birthday.

In 1954, President Eisenhower and the Congress changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day to honor all veterans, living and dead.

"All Quiet on the Western Front" is a novel by Erich Maria Remarque, himself a German veteran of World War I, which chronicles the horrors of that war. A best-seller, the novel was made into an acclaimed motion picture in 1930. During the 1930's, the Nazis banned and burned the book.

1 comment:

Miriam said...

The last surviving Canadian veteran of WWI lives here in Spokane, Craig. He is 107 years old, I believe. At our last genealogical society meeting, there was a presentation from one of our members who is also a member of the local oral history association, and he told us that Louis Livingston (the veteran) had played a prominent part in interviewing local dignitaries and celebrities for the association, in the 1940s and 1950s. He himself was interviewed as well. These particular oral histories he produced have been indexed and archived by the museum, but can't be released to the public until after his death! That statement brought a lot of laughs...he seems to be living forever!