This year: Saturday, November 11, 2017
This holiday was established to commemorate the armistice of Compiegne. The official name of this holiday is Memory Day.
Today we honor victims of war with Eternal Flame on the fields of battle, at the walls of fortresses, on cemeteries, under the arches of pantheons in many countries all around the world. But do you know that this sacred tradition was born not very long ago. It was only in 1920 that the first memorial tomb of the Unknown Soldier appeared in Paris. Three years later on November 11, 1923 the Eternal Flame was set. Five years earlier on November 11, 1918, the countries of the Entente (an Alliance including England, France and Russia) and Germany signed the armistice. It took place in the Compiegne Forest. The signing of that armistice marked the end of the World War I and brought a great relief to all people.
The Unknown Soldier Memorial preserves the national memory about 1.5 million of French, who died during this dreadful war. The Eternal Flame is burning all the time and that means that people remember the deceased participants of that horrible event. In France on Memory Day people of all ages come to the Unknown Soldier Memorials in their cities. They come and bring wreaths to the tomb. This day is the best time to recall the past of the country and think about it. It is important to understand that there should never be such crucial mistakes anymore, because every conflict can be solved peacefully.
This does not mean that the memory of the deceased men-of-war is revered by the French only on Memory Day. You can see it clearly, if you drive to French-Germany border. Looking at tables with names of places you can not but remember the past of the country, the painful pages of its history. And the table - "This is the place where the greatest battles of World War I took place" - makes you slow down involuntarily.
Several years ago, France called this holiday Victory Day, but today it is known as Memory Day and November 11 is marked like this in all the calendars.