An armistice is an agreement for the cessation of active hostilities

Armistice Day, our present Remembrance Day, has its accidental origin in the day that the combatants chose to call a halt to the four years of bloody fighting. An armistice was signed at 5am on the 11th November 1918 in a railway carriage in the forest of Compiègne in France and was announced by the King to the Prime Minister's displeasure, at 11 am.

We heard the announcement of the Armistice on a cheerless, dismal, cold misty day. There was no cheering. We were all tired in body and mind, fresh from the tragic fields of battle. We read in the papers of the tremendous celebrations in London and Paris, but could not bring ourselves to raise even a cheer. The only feeling we had was one of great relief.'

'I said to them casually, "The war's over at 11 o'clock this morning." Somebody said "Yeah?" Somebody else said, "Go on!" They just went on eating. There was no jumping for joy or dancing around. We were so war weary we were just ready to accept whatever came.'

  Despite all the flickering black and white
  archive films we see, with their sound of
  gunfire, there is in fact only one sound
  recording from World War One and that
  is of a discrete popping sound of gas
  canisters being fired.

'At 11 o'clock a trumpeter came round and sounded the Cease-fire, quite dramatically. I remember doing a cartwheel and I said to myself "I'm alive! It's all over and I'm alive!"

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"The Legion is committed to ensuring that the ‘Torch of Remembrance’ is passed on to today’s school children. Our children are the world’s future - it is important that they understand the lessons of history so that the same mistakes may never be repeated." BL 2005

What exactly does all this mean? What is the 'Torch of Remembrance' and why should we care about it? What are the 'lessons of history' and which lessons should we 'understand'? What mistakes should not be repeated? Behind this bland statement lie the politics of war.