99 years form signing the armistice in the WWI was commemorated on November 11, 2017, at the New Cemetery of Belgrade, in terms of the state ceremony with participation of the Diplomatic corps of Belgrade. The central state manifestation of laying wreaths and paying respects at the Memorial Ossuary of Belgrade Defenders (1914-1918) was conducted by the Minister for Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Zoran Đorđević, on behalf of the Serbian Government.
The Remembrance Day is commemorated each year on November 11, as a token of remembrance of the armistice signed between the representatives of Germany and the Entente, which formally ended the hostilities in the WWI. This date is commemorated as a national holiday in many allied countries in order to remember the casualties of the Great War.
The armistice was signed in the railway wagon in Compiegne (France) and the hostilities formally ended on November 11, 1918 – “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month”. The hostile forces in the WWI mobilized over 70 million soldiers, whereas in accordance with some estimations approximately 20 million people died during the Great War. In the course of the enemy campaigns in Serbia during the WWI, between 1.100.000 and 1.300.000 inhabitants died, which constitued almost a third of the total population, or almost 60% of the male population.
The state ceremony commenced by laying wreaths to the Commonwealth Military Cemetery, followed by the central event at the Memorial Ossuary of Belgrade Defenders (1914-1918). The wreaths were laid and respect paid by the Minister for Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, representatives of the Defense Ministry and Serbian Armed Forces, Ministry of Interior, City of Belgrade, representatives of Diplomatic corps of Belgrade, in addition to the representatives of associations for fostering traditions of Serbian liberations wars. Subsequent to laying wreaths and red roses, Minister for Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs Zoran Đorđević gave a brief address, which was followed by the appropriate cultural program.
The ceremony continued by laying wreaths at the Russian Ossuary (Monument to the Russian Glory), where the wreaths laying ceremony was carried out subsequent to consecration.
The commemoration of the Remembrance Day ended by the wreaths laying ceremony at the French Military Cemetery. On behalf of the City of Belgrade, a wreath at the French Military Cemetery was laid by the city manager Goran Vesić. In the course of the commemoration program, the choir of the French school in Belgrade performed the appropriate melodies in Serbian and French languages. This was followed by reading names of twenty French soldiers killed in the WWI and buried at the French Military Cemetery in addition to three French soldiers died in the peace-keeping missions during the last year.
In accordance with the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles, each country was obligated to maintain the war cemeteries at their territories, disregarding the fate or nationality. Based on the decision of the SHS Kingdom from 1919, the Municipality of Belgrade secured the area for French, Italian, Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian military cemeteries. The cemeteries were constructed by their respective countries in the period between 1928 and 1934. From their establishing until this day, the foreign military cemeteries are treated as separate, ex-territorial units, within the New Cemetery of Belgrade.
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