Notre Dame de Lorette: the new 'Anneau de la Mémoire' (Ring of Remembrance) has been built to the right of the basilica (Photo: Centenary News)

Armistice Day: International First World War memorial opens in France

Posted on on 11 November 2014
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Today is the 96th anniversary of the Armistice, which ended the First World War at 11am on November 11th 1918.

Armistice Day is observed as a public holiday in France, where today President François Hollande will inaugurate L'Anneau de la Mémoire (Ring of Remembrance), a new international memorial overlooking the former battlefields of Artois near Vimy.

Remembrance events, including moments of silence at 11am, are also taking place in Australia, Belgium, Canada, New Zealand and the UK.

The Ring of Remembrance, to be opened by President Hollande at the military cemetery of Notre Dame de Lorette, will honour all soldiers who fell in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region between 1914-18.

In a break with tradition, the 580,000 names will be listed alphabetically, not by nationality.

Announcing France's Centenary programme in 2013, President Hollande said: "It is true that it was against each other that these young men died for their country. In the name of common humanity they will now be gathered together."

Mr Hollande will travel to Notre Dame de Lorette after taking part in the traditional Armistice Day ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, where he will lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier.

Remembrance ceremonies today also include events at the Menin Gate in Ypres; Australian War Memorial in Canberra; Auckland War Memorial Museum, New Zealand; and the National War Memorial in Ottawa.

In recent years, two minutes silence has increasingly been observed on Armistice Day in towns and cities across Britain. BBC television and radio networks fall silent today at 11am. In London, the Western Front Association holds  its annual remembrance service at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.

Sources: Mission Centenaire 14-18, Elysée Palace,  various

Images: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News