|On 11 November - Remembrance Day|
Remembrance Day (also known as Poppy Day owing to the tradition of wearing a remembrance poppy) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth member states since the end of the First World War to honour armed forces members who have died in the line of duty. Following a tradition inaugurated by King George V in 1919, the day is also marked by war remembrances in many non-Commonwealth countries. In most countries, Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November to recall the end of First World War hostilities. Hostilities formally ended "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month" of 1918, in accordance with the armistice signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente between 5:12 and 5:20 that morning. ("At the 11th hour" refers to the passing of the 11th hour, or 11:00 am.) The First World War officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919.
The tradition of Remembrance Day evolved out of Armistice Day. The initial Armistice Day was observed at Buckingham Palace, commencing with King George V hosting a "Banquet in Honour of the President of the French Republic" during the evening hours of 10 November 1919. The first official Armistice Day was subsequently held on the grounds of Buckingham Palace the following morning. During the Second World War, many countries changed the name of the holiday. Member states of the Commonwealth of Nations adopted Remembrance Day, while the US chose Veterans Day.[
Canadians began to commemorate their veterans and war dead as early as 1890, when Decoration Day began to be observed on 2 June, the anniversary of the 1866 Battle of Ridgeway against the Fenians. A further observance was held on 27 February, from 1900 to 1918, to mark the Canadian victory over the Boers at the Battle of Paardeberg.
The first Armistice Day commemoration was in 1919, when King George V called on all countries in the British Empire to observe it. It was later placed on statutory footing in 1921, when the Parliament of Canada provided that Thanksgiving and Armistice Day both be held on the Monday of the week in which 11 November fell. Charles Dickie, Conservative MP for Nanaimo, campaigned to change the name from Armistice Day to Remembrance Day, and this was approved in 1931, when Parliament accordingly amended the Act, with its observance fixed on 11 November.
In Canada, Remembrance Day (Jour du Souvenir) is a statutory holiday in all three territories and in six of the ten provinces. Nova Scotia recognizes the day under separate legislation, but Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec do not treat the day as an official holiday in any capacity. The Royal Canadian Legion is officially against making the day a national statutory holiday in part because the day-off aspect would eventually overtake the memorial purpose of the occasion, whereas having schools in regular session on that day would be an opportunity for children to be taught the day's true significance in a mandatory fashion. In a more informal manner, there has been opinion voiced against the trend of Christmas creep, so that the conclusion of Remembrance Day should be the earliest acceptable time in which to mark the beginning of the Christmas holidays.
Veterans Affairs Canada states that the date is of "remembrance for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict and peace"; particularly the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, and all conflicts since then in which members of the Canadian Armed Forces have participated. The department runs a program called Canada Remembers with the mission of helping young and new Canadians, most of whom have never known war, "come to understand and appreciate what those who have served Canada in times of war, armed conflict and peace stand for and what they have sacrificed for their country."
Members of the Canadian Armed Forces march during a Remembrance Day parade in Ottawa, 2017
The official national ceremonies are held at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. These are presided over by the governor general of Canada and attended by the prime minister, other dignitaries, the Silver Cross Mother, and public observers. Occasionally, a member of the Canadian royal family may also be present (such as Prince Charles in 2009 and Princess Anne in 2014).
Before the start of the event, four sentries and three sentinels (two flag sentinels and one nursing sister) are posted at the foot of the cenotaph. The commemoration then typically begins with the tolling of the carillon in the Peace Tower, during which current members of the armed forces arrive at Confederation Square, followed by the Ottawa diplomatic corps, ministers of the Crown, special guests, the RCL, the royal party (if present), and the viceregal party. The arrival of the governor general is announced by a trumpeter sounding the "Alert", whereupon the viceroy is met by the Dominion president of the RCL and escorted to a dais to receive the "Vice Regal Salute", after which the national anthem, "O Canada", is played and sung in English and French.
The moment of silence in Canada is preceded by the bugling of "Last Post" immediately before 11 am
The moment of remembrance begins with the bugling of "Last Post" immediately before 11 am, when 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 royal group return to the dais to receive the playing of the Canadian royal anthem, "God Save the King", 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.
Remembrance poppies distributed by the Royal Canadian Legion atop the Canadian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Similar ceremonies take place in provincial capitals across the country, officiated by the relevant lieutenant governor, as well as in other cities, towns, and even hotels or corporate headquarters. Schools will usually hold special assemblies for the first half of the day, or on the school day prior, with various presentations concerning the remembrance of the war dead. The ceremony participants include veterans, current members of the Canadian forces, and sea, army, and air cadet units.
In 1994, National Aboriginal Veterans Day was inaugurated to recognise the contribution of Aboriginal soldiers. In 2001, Merchant Navy Remembrance Day was created by the Canadian parliament, designating 3 September as a day to recognise the contributions and sacrifice of Canadian merchant mariners.
Sandra P. 11/11/2022