Armistice Day (also known as Remembrance Day) is on November 11 and commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front, which took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning—the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. While this official date to mark the end of the war reflects the cease fire on the Western Front, hostilities continued in other regions, especially across the former Russian Empire and in parts of the old Ottoman Empire.
The date was declared a national holiday in many allied nations, to commemorate those members of the armed forces who were killed during war. An exception is Italy, where the end of the war is commemorated on November 4, the day of the Armistice of Villa Giusti. After World War the name of the holiday was changed to Veterans Day in the United States and to Remembrance Day in countries of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Armistice Day remains an official holiday in France. It is also an official holiday in Belgium, known also as the Day of Peace in the Flanders Fields.
In many parts of the world people take a two-minute moment of silence at 11:00 a.m. as a sign of respect for the roughly 20 million people who died in the war, as suggested by Edward George Honey in a letter to a British newspaper, although Wellesley Tudor Pole established two ceremonial periods of remembrance based on events in 1917.
In the UK, beginning in 1939, the two-minute silence was moved to the Sunday nearest to November 11 in order not to interfere with wartime production should November 11 fall on a weekday. After the war most Armistice Day events were moved to the nearest Sunday and began to commemorate both World Wars. The change was made in many Commonwealth countries as well as the United Kingdom, and the new commemoration was named Remembrance Sunday or Remembrance Day. Both Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday are now commemorated formally in the UK.