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Remembrance Day


Field of Orange Poppies - © corbis


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Remembrance Day is observed on November 11th. It is a statutory holiday throughout all of Canada except Ontario and Québec.

We must remember. If we do not, the sacrifice of those one hundred thousand Canadian lives will be meaningless. They died for us, for their homes and families and friends, for a collection of traditions they cherished and a future they believed in; they died for Canada. The meaning of their sacrifice rests with our collective national consciousness; our future is their monument.

~Heather Robertson, A Terrible Beauty, The Art of Canada at War, Toronto, Lorimer, 1977


Remembrance Day commemorates Canadians who died in the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War.

The first Remembrance Day was conducted in 1919 throughout the Commonwealth. Originally called Armistice Day, it commemorated the end of the First World War, "the War to end all Wars", on Monday, November 11, 1918 at 11:00 AM (the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month).

From 1923 to 1931, Armistice Day was held on the Monday of the week in which November 11 fell. Thanksgiving was also celebrated on this day. In 1931, M.P. Allan Neill introduced a bill to hold Armistice Day on a fixed day - November 11. During the bill's introduction, it was decided the word "Remembrance" would be used instead of "Armistice". The bill passed and Remembrance Day was conducted on November 11, 1931. Thanksgiving Day was moved to October 12 that year.

In the USA, Remembrance Day is known as Veterans Day. The dead of World War II and Korea, and of all other wars are also remembered on this day. In Britain, Canada and much of the Commonwealth, and in France, Belgium and other parts of Europe, it is observed with a two minutes silence at 11:00 AM.

The poppy is the symbol that individuals use to show that they remember those who were killed in the wars and peace keeping operations that Canada has been involved in. Replica poppies are sold by the Royal Canadian Legion to raise money for needy veterans.

The tradition of wearing poppies in honor of Canada's war dead takes its origin from the poem "In Flanders Fields," written in 1915 by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. John McCrae was a Canadian Medical Officer during the First World War. His poem reflects his first hand account of what he witnessed while working from a dressing station on the bank of the Yser Canal.



In Flanders Fields

written in 1915 by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


Flanders, in north-west Belgium, was the scene of one of the bloodiest battles of the World War I.  One of the few things said to have survived the bloodshed was the poppy.  Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian doctor serving on the battlefield, wrote this poem after treating the battle wounded and burying the dead.






A Day of Remembrance from the Veterans Affairs Canada


Remembrance Day web page from CanadaInfo


In Flanders Fields’ Museum


Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae - Veterans Affairs Canada


Canada Remembered - Canadian born Singer-Songwriter, Shawn Hlookoff, has written and produced a moving music video dedicated the Canadian Service Members. He is offering free downloads of this video to Canadian schools from coast to coast as a Remembrance Day tribute and learning tool.




In Flanders Fields  (A reading of the famous poem written by John McCrae spoken by The Regimental Band of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry - 0:42/669KB)


Last Post - Long version including 2 minutes of silence (The Regimental Band of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry - 3:43/3.4MB)


Last Post  (The Royal Canadian Legion (Dominion Command) - 1:37/1.5MB)


O Canada (The Royal Canadian Artillery Band - 1:48/1.1MB)


Lament  (The Royal Canadian Legion (Dominion Command) - 2:58/3.8MB)


Reveille  (The Royal Canadian Legion (Dominion Command) - 0:28/439KB)


God Save The Queen  (The Royal Canadian Legion (Dominion Command) - 0:43/3.6MB)


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