Remembrance Day is a time to pay tribute to those who have served in the military. Here are a few things you may not know about this solemn day.
We’ve all known someone who has spent time in the military. For me that person is my grandfather, a World War II veteran. As long as there have been humans, we have fought in wars and many have lost their lives to protect their loved ones and fellow citizens. On this day we take time to think about their sacrifices and the people that will make the same sacrifices in the future.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of The Great War, World War I, which brings an even more somber mood to the day. Although Remembrance Day is widely celebrated, there’s still a few things you may not know about the holiday.
- The first Remembrance Day was called Armistice Day (because of the Armistice Agreement), which was instated in 1919. It was set to take place on November 11, because this is when World War I officially ended. The holiday soon became known as Remembrance Day which we still observe today.
- When we take our moment of silence on Remembrance Day we are doing so for over 1,500,000 Canadians that have served in the armed services over the years. Of these brave women and men more than 118,000 have laid down their lives in the line of duty. This number includes two Canadians that made the ultimate sacrifice just a month ago on Canadian soil. Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo will not soon be forgotten.
- The poppy has been used to commemorate soldiers since 1921. The original concept came from the poem “In Flander’s Fields” that was written by Lt. Col. John McCrae. Today, the Royal Canadian Legion replicas poppies each year in order to provide assistance to veterans.
- Remembrance Day in Canada is celebrated with a large ceremony that takes place at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. The celebration kicks off with a parade of veterans, Canadian Armed Force members and many other groups. Many political figures, such as the prime minister, also meet at the memorial to take part in the occasion.
- Many of the Commonwealth states celebrate Remembrance Day as an official holiday, as do many other nations including the United States that calls it Veterans Day. Even more nations still observe a day for those whom have fallen, but not on November 11. Remembrance Day in Canada is actually a federally statutory holiday.
There’s a lot to be said for those who have served and laid down their lives for our freedom. However, no facts can make a statement or impact quite like this meaningful speech by Lt. Col. Paul Peyton that he gave at the Edmonton’s Beechmount Cemetery just last year (speech starts at 0:42). I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.