SMI Debbie Callaghan, County Media Officer
Armistice Day, observed on the 11th day of the 11th month each year, commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies and Germany in 1918, ending World War I. While initially focusing on honouring those who served and sacrificed in this particular conflict, the observance has expanded to encompass all military personnel who have played a role in subsequent wars and conflicts. In 2023, the country will commemorate the 105th anniversary of the end of the First World War, a significant event in British history.
A crucial aspect of Armistice Day is the recognition of soldiers from Commonwealth countries who served alongside their counterparts in the Allied forces. The Commonwealth of Nations, a political association of 55 member states, includes countries from various regions, each contributing significantly to the collective efforts for peace and freedom.
During World War I and World War II, soldiers from Commonwealth nations played a pivotal role in the Allied forces. From India to Australia, Canada to South Africa, these nations sent their sons and daughters to fight for shared values and principles. They stood together, facing the challenges of war on a global scale.
Armistice Day serves as a poignant reminder of the international collaboration that occurred during these conflicts. Commonwealth soldiers, often traveling great distances to participate in the wars, exemplified a commitment to a common cause—the defeat of tyranny and the defence of freedom.
The red poppy, inspired by the iconic war poem "In Flanders Fields," has become a universal symbol of remembrance. Worn with pride, it represents the sacrifices made by soldiers from all corners of the globe, including those from Commonwealth countries. The Royal British Legion and other organisations distribute poppies as a way to raise funds for veterans and their families, transcending borders in its significance.
Armistice Day ceremonies held in Commonwealth countries emphasise the inclusivity of remembrance. The diversity of contributions and sacrifices made by military personnel from different nations is acknowledged and honoured, fostering a sense of shared history and collective gratitude.
In paying tribute on Armistice Day, we recognise not only the soldiers who served in specific wars but also the broader community of individuals from Commonwealth countries who stood united in the face of adversity. Their combined efforts remind us that the pursuit of peace is a global endeavour, and remembrance is a shared responsibility across borders.
Greater Manchester ACF is committed to instilling values such as respect, discipline, and community involvement in young people. As such, Armistice Day holds significant meaning for the cadets, as they take the time to honour the sacrifices made by those who have served in the Armed Forces. Through their training and pursuits, cadets develop an appreciation for the sacrifices made by previous generations.
'They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.'