Friday will be the 98th anniversary of the end of World War I. On Nov. 11, 1918 — at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month — the Allies and Germany formally signed an armistice agreement ending their fight. The war was over.
"Bells burst forth into joyful chimes ... bands paraded the streets followed by cheering crowds of soldiers and civilians, and London generally gave itself up wholeheartedly to rejoicing," newspapers reportedly wrote at the time.
But it wasn't all joy: More than 17 million lives had been lost in the conflict, and authorities around the world wanted to honor them. Now, nearly a century later, several nations continue to observe Armistice Day every Nov. 11 in remembrance.
In the United Kingdom, people commemorate Armistice Day with a two-minute moment of silence in London's Trafalgar Square, according to the Mirror. The Royal family will visit the Cenotaph war memorial, and locals will decorate with poppies, the flowers that grew in the World War I battlefields.
Per King George V's 1919 proclamation, at 11 a.m. "all locomotion should cease, so that, in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead."
Americans recognize Armistice Day a bit differently. After the war, Nov. 11 was indeed set aside as a legal holiday dedicated to "thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations," according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. But in 1954, after World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day.
"Let us solemnly remember the sacrificies of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom," then-President Dwight Eisenhower wrote.
Other countries that observe Armistice Day, or Veterans Day, include France, Serbia, Belgium and New Zealand, according to Public Holidays Global.