Commemorating Remembrance Day
At 11 am on 11 November 1918, Germany called for an armistice (suspension of fighting) and accepted the allied terms of unconditional surrender, bringing an end to World War One. The four-year conflict had left between nine and 13 million dead and as many as one third of these with no grave.
By signing, the Germans agreed to immediately cease hostilities, withdraw to the east bank of the Rhine within 30 days, surrender their fleet and heavy guns, and release all prisoners of war, among other conditions.
In many areas, the fighting continued right up until 11.00am on the day of the Armistice, leading to 2,738 deaths and a further 8,206 injuries.
In Australia and other allied countries, including New Zealand, Canada and the United States, 11 November became known as Armistice Day – a day to remember those who died in World War One.
The tradition of stopping at 11am started on the very first Armistice Day in 1919 and continues to this day. It was initially suggested by an Australian journalist living in London, and was made official with a proclamation by King George V. His Majesty requested that “...all locomotion should cease, so that, in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead.”
The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month attained a special significance in the post-war years, becoming universally associated with the remembrance of those who had died in the war.
After World War Two, the Australian Government agreed to the United Kingdom’s proposal that Armistice Day be renamed Remembrance Day to commemorate those who were killed in both World Wars.
The resurgence of Remembrance Day became official on 30 October 1997, when the Governor-General proclaimed that ‘(a) 11 November in each year shall be known and observed as Remembrance Day; and (b) all Australians are urged to observe, unless impracticable, one minute’s silence at 11:00 on Remembrance Day each year’.
Today the loss of Australian lives from all wars and conflicts is commemorated on Remembrance Day.
On 11 November, at 11am, State Library will join millions of Australians in observing one minute’s silence to commemorate Remembrance Day – a quiet moment held in honour of those who have died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts.
Anzac Square Memorial Galleries, located beneath the Shrine of Remembrance in Brisbane CBD, will be open from 10am to 4pm for patrons wishing to explore the free exhibition or place a poppy in honour of Queensland-associated battalions, regiments, and other units.
Wherever you are, and whatever you’re doing, you can set a virtual reminder to stop and reflect this Remembrance Day with help from your voice assistant. To start, just say "Ask Anzac Stories" using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant and follow the prompts to schedule a minute’s silence on your device.
You can also request a poppy be placed inside the Memorial Gallery of your choice and listen to stories of bravery and sacrifice from armed forces through this award-winning program.
While you’re online, you can help State Library document the story of Queensland by sharing your heartfelt memories with us in Explorer. You can tag and comment on existing State Library collection items related to Queensland’s war history… or add your own story! We would love to learn more about who you’ll stop to remember this Remembrance Day.
You can learn about some of the Queensland heroes we’ll be honouring this Remembrance Day and discover more ways to commemorate at home and online at https://www.anzacsquare.qld.gov.au/commemorate/commemorate-remembrance-day
Don't forget to share your Remembrance Day story with us by using the hashtags #AnzacSquare and #RemembranceDay2021 on social media.