A Day to Remember

As the sales of poppies continue across the county, we prepare to mark a solemn day of Remembrance on November 11.

On that day we will stop to honour the over 2.3 million Canadians who have served our country. Of those, over 118,000 gave their lives in service.

We pause on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month each year to remember their sacrifice. These were men and women who believed that our Canadian way of life, our freedoms, were in danger and they sought to protect us and offer us a future. Fathers, sons, brothers, daughters and sisters who felt their obligation to serve their country eclipsed their dedication to their families and even their own dreams.

When called by their country many Canadians answered the call. Veterans from earlier wars, high school students and many who were unemployed were among those that lined up to fight, according to a government website.

Along with attending a local Remembrance Day ceremony, Canadians often show their appreciation for all in the military by observing two minutes of silence and by wearing poppies. The poppies, which were initially sold in France to help support wounded soldiers, became a tradition for Canada in 1921.

But it was not always marked in this way.

Originally called Armistice Day, November 11 was officially established by the Canadian Parliament in 1921. However, there were few public events to mark the day, which was held on the first Monday in the week of November 11.

That began to change in 1928 with efforts by citizens who called for a more formal recognition of the event.

By 1931 the government declared that November 11 would be Remembrance Day. Following their declaration, many cities and communities began to hold public ceremonies to honour the fallen.

In Canada, special memorials have been established to honour and remember those who fought and those who were lost.

Some of these include:

The National War Memorial in Ottawa, which serves as a symbol of the sacrifice Canadians made in the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War and peacekeeping missions.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is next to the War Memorial, is the resting place of a Canadian soldier whose remains were exhumed from a cemetery around Vimy Ridge.

There are also the Books of Remembrance in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower. They record details of the wars.

In communities across Canada monuments, cenotaphs and buildings have also been established as monuments to the fallen.

There is also Canadian War Museum that has been created to record and recall Canadian’s efforts in all the major world conflicts. It has interactive, online features as well as special exhibits and events. 

Despite who you are or where you live, let’s all take the time to honour those who have given their all to keep us safe and free.

 

Written by Chandra Lye

 

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