90 years ago: A day to remember

by
12 November 2008

November 15th, 1918.
ON MONDAY, just before dawn, our troops entered Mons, the town which the Old Contemptibles held at the beginning of the war against overwhelming odds until they were obliged to withdraw. It was, there­fore, dramatically fitting that victory should have been finally achieved on the scene of a former reverse. For within an hour or two of the retaking of Mons the German delegates signed the armistice, and before midday the last shot was fired. Then all the world knew that the fighting was over, and the civilized part of it rejoiced. Thrones were tumbling down, emperors and princes were in flight, and republics were springing up where military autocracies had been; but in the first enthusiasm of Monday these were hardly in our thoughts. The night­mare of war having vanished in the light of that morning, our minds were filled with love and gratitude to those who on and under the sea, in the air, and on land had dared all that England should be free from an invader’s power. The memory of those who had paid the last sacrifice filled every heart, and for many their joy in the glorious news was mingled with the sorrow of bereavement which was all the more poignant in that hour of triumph. But for all of us it was a day to be remembered while life lasts, and a day greater than any that has been recorded in the annals of our country. We are still some distance from the goal of a just and lasting peace, and it is to be feared that there will be obstacles in the path. Nevertheless, we shall press forward to that goal in the hope that, by the grace of God, the world shall no more be devastated by the cruelties of war, and shall be made safe for the growth of religion and civilization.

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