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The Armistice Day silence is always at 11 o’clock because the First World Was ended at 11 am on the 11th of November 1918. Desperate to the end to the conflict, German politician Matthias Erzberger met Allied Supreme Commander and Marshall of France, Ferdinand Foch, and British Admiral Rosslyn Wemyss on 8th November 1918. They met in a train carriage in a forest outside Paris and negotiations went on for three days. Finally, at 5 am on the morning of the 11th November, the Armistice was signed. Six hours later, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the guns of Europe fell silent.
Every year on the 11th November, ceremonies around the world remember people that have lost their lives serving in the armed forces. Armistice Day is also known as Remembrance Day and Poppy Day.
People choose to commemorate these losses in different ways. Some of the most common practices include observing two minutes of silence at 11 o’clock and wearing a paper poppy pin. Wreath-laying ceremonies and flag processions are also traditional ways of marking respect.
As a consequence of Covid 19 restrictions the 2021 Dunedin Armistice Service will be not be held in the Queens Gardens and will take the form of a digital offering. Allied Productions and Channel 39 – Southern Television have produced a service that follows the traditional rundown of the ceremony.
The service is presented by Master of Ceremonies LT Willy Atkinson and includes speakers Emeritus Professor John Broughton CNZM ED JP, RSA Kaumatua , officiating Chaplain, Captain Aaron Knotts, 2/4 RNZIR Chaplain , Dr. Royden Somerville, Chancellor, University of Otago, Major (Rtd) Bob Barlin, President of the Dunedin RSA and others. The service includes footage from previous recordings of the RSA choir in singing God Save the Queen and the NZ national anthem.