This November, the world will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the War to End All Wars. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month (November 11, 1918), an armistice was signed between the Allied forces and the Central Powers, formally ending the fighting of one of the largest wars in history.
WWI, also known as The Great War, cost the world the lives of over 9 million soldiers and 7 million civilians, leaving behind a legacy of death and destruction that can be felt to this day.
To honor the 100th anniversary of the end of this horrific chapter of history, events are being held around the world and represent a historic travel opportunity. Below are just a few of the commemorative events and moving WWI memorials that can be found across the globe.
Poppies Tour : United Kingdom
One of the First World War’s most impressive artistic monuments has been sweeping the UK for the past 4 years. Launched in 2014 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI, the Poppies Tour is a beautiful tribute to this solemn time in history. Seen by over 30 million people thus far, the moving art installation involves cascades of over 888,246 ceramic red poppies; poppies being synonymous with Veteran’s Day and remembrance, due largely to the famous WWI poem, In Flanders Fields. Eventually the poppies, the work of artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper, will find a permanent home at the Imperial War Museum sites in London and Manchester.
The Last Post Ceremony: Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium
Since November 11, 1929, the sounding of the last post, the traditional military bugle salute to a fallen soldier, has been sounded at the Menin Gate memorial, rain or shine, every night at 8pm. This moving, daily ceremony is an outstanding example of remembrance and a powerful tribute to the countless soldiers who lost their lives fighting for to free Belgium. The Menin Gate is a historic monument in and of itself, as it is through this gate that vast numbers of British and Commonwealth troops passed on their way to the Ypres battlefields. Visitors to the nightly ceremony have the option of paying their respects with a remembrance wreath, often made of the iconic WWI poppies.
Centennial Ceremonies at ABMC Sites
Historic centennial events and ceremonies will be taking place at many of the the ABMC's (American Battle Monuments Commission) properties this Veteran's Day to honor the countless American soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. As a small agency of the executive branch of the U.S. federal government, the ABMC manages 26 American cemeteries and 29 memorials/monuments spanning 16 different countries. While a trip to any of these memorials is impactful any time of the year, the centennial events and memorial services represent an especially moving opportunity to pay tribute to the countless heros of the Great War.
Commemorative Services & Parades: Mons, Belgium
Commemorative events will take place on November 10th and 11th 2018 all throughout the Belgian city of Mons, including a remembrance ceremony at the historic St. Symphorien Cemetery where the first (British John Parr) and last (Canadian George Price) casualties of the Great War are buried. In addition to inaugurating a new memorial to honor the fallen soldier George Prince, the area will host several remembrance ceremonies as well as a large liberation parade which will mimic the celebrations of 1918.
Canadian National Vimy Memorial: Pas-de-Calais, France
The largest of the Canadian memorials in France, the 117 hectare Canadian National Vimy Memorial stands proudly atop Hill 145 where much of the critical battle of Vimy Ridge was fought. Dedicated in 1936, the memorial pays tribute not only to Canada’s most significant WWI battle, but also honors all Canadians who lost their lives during the course of the war. In addition to over 20 symbolic sculptures, the memorial features soaring ramparts in which the names of 11,285 Canadian soldiers who were posted "missing, presumed dead" are inscribed. As you plan your trip to northern France, don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit this impactful memorial and find yourself standing on the site of one of the most important battles of modern history.
Source: Veterans Affairs Canada
Whether planning a trip to visit some of Europe’s historic WWI memorials or simply celebrating Veteran’s Day in your hometown, this November 11th we invite you to remember all of the men and women, both past and present, who so selflessly served their countries to protect our rights and freedom.
Happy Veteran’s Day from all of us here at Prométour. Words simply cannot express our gratitude to all of our veterans.