It's known as Veterans Day in the U.S.A.; Remembrance Day in the U.K; jour du souvenir or jour de l'armistice in France. But whatever the name, there is a universal commemoration at 11am on November 11th, when people in many different countries remain silent for two minutes to remember those killed in the 'war to end all wars'. It was the time and day when the Armistice was signed to end the brutal 1914-1918 war.
As it's a public holiday in France, most of the museums and galleries are shut. But the streets are full of processions and ceremonies, usually with the mayor and local dignitaries. A brass band will lead the procession to the town's war memorial where they stop at 11am.
If you have the chance, go to see the Great War Museum in Meaux, just east of Paris. It was inaugurated at 11am on November 11th, 2011.
It's rather chilling that many people are now adding other, more recent wars to the commemoration. The great conflict that ushered in the modern age was not the 'war to end all wars'.
Paris sees a big event with military bands and soldiers marching towards the Arc de Triomphe.
If you're interested in World War I, there's plenty to see in France, from relatively new war cemeteries and memorials to the Wilfred Owen Memorial. If you get the chance, don't miss the evocative, low-key Armistice Museum in Northern France. A replica of the railway carriage now seems a strange setting for one of the world's most momentous events - the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I.
More on World War I
- 3-Day tour of the Western Front Memorials
- The largest US cemetery in Europe
- Wellington Quarry Museum, Arras
Image: The Wellington Quarry Museum in Arras