CM – Armistice Day: how is Belgium commemorating?

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Armistice Day on November 11th marks the effective end of World War I and is a day to commemorate the millions of people who perished in years of conflict.

After days of negotiations, at which the Germans came to the table after heavy losses in the summer of 1918, German and Allied forces officially signed the armistice agreement on the 11th.

The armistice ordered the warring parties to “cease hostilities on the western front, on land and in the air to end within six hours of being signed “to initiate peace in Europe at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. About 41,000 Belgian soldiers died in World War I.

The document also ordered the « immediate evacuation » of German troops from occupied countries such as Belgium, France and Luxembourg « within 15 days of the signing of the armistice ». It stipulated that “German soldiers who do not leave these areas within the given period of time will be taken prisoner of war”.

In Belgium, the commemoration of November 11th, 1922, was organized for the first time when the Unknown Soldier was buried at the congress pillar became. Belgium used to remember the First World War best on August 4th, the day of the invasion in 1914.

Since the signing of the armistice, several monuments in cities across Europe have honored those who were killed in the war and led to the creation of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to honor the unidentified soldiers killed during the conflict.

In Belgium, this emblematic monument is located at the foot of the Colonne du Congrès, which celebrates the creation of the Belgian Constitution and of a statue of Leopold I, the first Belgian monarch.

On Armistice Day, commemorative events are usually organized across Belgium and Europe. As the palace confirms, King Philippe will take part in the military ceremony in honor of the Unknown Soldier, the fallen of the two world wars and the soldiers killed in peace missions since 1945.

This ceremony will take place in the Colonne du Congrès in Brussels in the presence of the Presidents of the House of Representatives and the Senate, representatives of the government and the constituent organs. During the ceremony, a wreath is laid at the foot of the grave in honor of the fallen soldiers.

In the city of Ypres – the scene of one of the more costly battles of the war and the unofficial Christmas peace between German and British soldiers – crowds usually come to the memory of the Armistice Day. A bugler plays the last post at the Menin Gate war memorial.

After strictly limited celebrations last year, when only four people were present at the ceremony, Armistice Day can be celebrated again in Ypres with the traditional ceremony under the Menin Gate The ceremony is public, with 400 invited guests. Visitors need a Covid Safe ticket, which will be checked upon arrival. The entire service can also be followed on a large screen on the Grand Place in Ypres, where a mask is recommended.

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