10 November 2017
At 11am on 11 November 1918, the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare. The allied armies had driven the German invaders back, having inflicted heavy defeats upon them over the preceding months.
In November, the Germans called for an armistice (suspension of fighting) in order to secure a peace settlement. They accepted the allied terms of unconditional surrender.
This first modern world conflict had involved over 70 million people and left between nine and thirteen million dead, perhaps as many as one-third of them with no known grave. The allied nations chose this day and time for the commemoration of their war dead.
After the end of the Second World War, the Australian and British governments changed the name to Remembrance Day. Armistice Day was no longer an appropriate title for a day which would commemorate all war dead.
In Australia on the 75th anniversary of the armistice in 1993 Remembrance Day ceremonies again became the focus of national attention. The remains of an unknown Australian soldier, exhumed from a First World War military cemetery in France, were ceremonially entombed in the Australian War Memorial's Hall of Memory.
This ceremony, which touched a chord across the Australian nation, re-established Remembrance Day as a significant day of commemoration to remember those who died or suffered for Australia's cause in all wars and armed conflicts.
Today in the Junior Years, we commemorated this event with a short service in the Assembly Hall focusing on the gallantry of John Simpson Kirkpatrick and I told the girls the story of this soldier and his special donkeys who gave the ultimate sacrifice for his fellow men and his country. One story of so many from the tragedy of war.
We will remember them - Lest we forget.
Mr Steve Warren
Head of Junior Years