Remembrance Day November 11th
On Friday November 11th we will be honoring our Veterans in Canada for their courageous service to our country and to those who have supported us in the fight for freedom and human rights. We hope you will attend a Remembrance Day Ceremony or take the time to watch the Veterans Affairs Ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on one of the news networks.
The red remembrance poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem “In Flanders Fields” written by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. After reading the poem, Moina Michael, a professor at the University of Georgia, wrote the poem, “We Shall Remember,” and swore to wear a red poppy on the anniversary. The custom spread to Europe and the countries of the British Empire and Commonwealth within three years. – From Wiki
The significant of the Poppy is in its emergence over the field in France were so much blood was shed. As the battlefields healed over and Mother Nature reclaimed its terrior the Poppies bloomed in the millions.
In Canada an interactive Map has been created to show the home towns and addresses of soldiers lost at war. It is called the Poppy Maps and represent the tremendous cost in lives that went into the D-Day campaign on June 6th 1944 in WWII. Please view the maps here to get a sense of the commitment made by our forefathers on just this one day alone in World War II.
It is worthwhile to visit the Veterans Affairs website to learn more about our armed forces and the work they do for Canada. This Remembrance Day we will be honoring those lives lost in the First World War, Second World War, Korean War, South Africa War (Boer War) and the Afghanistan War. We will also be honoring those who served and lost their lives in the Merchant Navy, a massive operation that supplied the war efforts with virtually no protection.
To learn more this year about our Veterans who served please visit their program called Canada Remembers. There will be a special feature next year at the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge and is just one of the features available on the website.
For many of us, whose families have a long history in Canada we have a connection to these wars in the knowledge that our Grandparents, Great Uncles, and relatives lost their lives fighting overseas. We see pictures in albums of Uncles or Cousins we never knew and hear stories from our Parents and Grandparents about the hardships and sacrifices made. It is a time to reflect on the very real fact that we are a great Nation with a phenomenal reputation in part because our families have fought and died for the very idea of what it is to be Canadian – Strong and Free.
Typical ceremonies on Remembrance day follow a set format. It can be cold on November 11th and an attempt to keep the ceremony brief in past years has helped make it more enjoyable for the world War Veterans who attend.
The following is an expert of what to expect at the national War Memorial and the Peace Tower in Ottawa. (from Wiki and Veterans Affairs)
- The moment of remembrance begins with the bugling of “Last Post” immediately before 11:00 am
- at which time the gun salute fires and the bells of the Peace Tower toll the hour.
- Another gun salute signals the end of the two minutes of silence, and cues the playing of a lament, the bugling of “The Rouse“, and the reading of the Act of Remembrance.
- A flypast of Royal Canadian Air Force craft then occurs at the start of a 21-gun salute,
- upon the completion of which a choir sings “In Flanders Fields”.
- The various parties then lay their wreaths at the base of the memorial; one wreath is set by the Silver Cross Mother (a recent recipient of the Memorial Cross) on behalf of all mothers whose children died in conflicts in which Canada participated.
- The viceregal and/or royal group return to the dais to receive the playing of the Canadian Royal Anthem, “God Save the Queen“, prior to the assembled armed forces personnel and veterans performing a march past in front of the viceroy and any royal guest, bringing about the end of the official ceremonies.
- A tradition of paying more personal tribute has emerged since erection of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the War Memorial in 2000:
- After the official ceremony the general public place their poppies atop the tomb.
Please take the time to remember those who have fought and lost their lives for our good fortune and who stand on guard to defend our rights and freedoms. We are only the Great North Strong and Free as a result of their valour and bravery.