Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Armistice Day and the Unknown Warrior
Armistice Day marks the anniversary of the 1918 signing of the Armistice, the pact that brought WWI to an end on the Western Front.
New Zealand had sent around 100,000 men and women abroad from a population of 1.1 million at the time. About 18,000 died and over 40,000 New Zealanders were wounded.
New Zealand had a higher per capita casualty rate than any of the other countries that were involved in WWI.
Armistice Day marked the symbolic end of WWI, as while the conflict ceased on the Western Front, hostilities still continued in other areas.
Here in New Zealand on Armistice Day in 2004, the "Unknown Warrior" was buried at the foot of Wellington's war memorial.
The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior contains the remains of a New Zealand soldier who died on the Western Front during WWI, but the body could'nt be identified so his identity still remains a mystery.
He was brought back from a graveyard in Somme, France, and was honoured with medals and a full military procession through the streets of Wellington.
Over 10,000 people turned out to pay their respects during his "lying in state" vigil, held at Parliament.
The Unknown Warrior is now a symbol of remembrance for all the New Zealanders who were killed in the war.