The two minutes of silence observed every Remembrance Day is meant as a time of reflection and contemplation on lives of the millions of soldiers who died in World War I. The idea for a brief silence originated in South Africa with Sir Harry Hands, Mayor of Cape Town, on May 14, 1918. King George V, hearing about it, proclaimed a two-minute silence a year after the armistice.Continue Reading
In May of 1918, the war raged, causing fear, anxiety and despair among citizens of Cape Town. Sir Harry Hands requested that everyone pause at noon for two minutes of silence. The people of Cape Town repeated this until the Armistice of Compiegne went into effect at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. Reporters in Cape Town told stories of the gatherings to other cities and states. Eventually knowledge of this practice reached England and the other allies. Australian journalist Edward George Honey's letter to the London Evening News in May 1919 is usually credited with introducing the concept to London and the king.
Following a banquet for the President of France on the previous night, King George V held the first official Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919. He proclaimed that "all locomotion should cease" at 11:00 a.m. to allow everyone to focus on "reverent remembrance of the glorious dead." This became a tradition that lasted until 1939, when it was moved to the Sunday nearest November 11 so that it didn't interfere with war efforts in Great Britain, then embroiled in World War II.Learn more about Holidays
The purpose of the Selective Service Act was to allow the U.S. government to draft soldiers after the United States entered World War I. At the time of the Selective Service Act, the Western Front was in dire need of troops.Full Answer >
Although an exact figure is not possible owing to questionable accuracy and destroyed records, approximately 8.5 to 10.8 million soldiers were killed during World War I. Of these deaths, 5.1 to 6.4 million were inflicted on the Allied nations, while 3.3 to 4.3 million were suffered by the Central Powers.Full Answer >
There are a number of appropriate poems for Remembrance Day, including poems written during the First World War, such as "In Flanders Fields" and "For the Fallen." Some other poems written after the First World War include "High Flight" and "MCMXIV."Full Answer >
Human Rights Day is celebrated every year on Dec. 10 to commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and ensure its continued remembrance as a common standard for all nations. The United Nations General Assembly adopted the declaration on Dec. 10, 1948, and it announced the establishment of an annual Human Rights Day on Dec. 4, 1950.Full Answer >