We honour. We thank. We remember.

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Every year at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day on the eleventh month, Canadians across the country stand to honour the men and women who have fallen defending our nation. Memorial parks, community halls, workplaces, schools, and homes become gathering sites to acknowledge the valiant efforts, sacrifices and continued courage of our country’s military heroes, as ceremonies are held, and a moment of silence is observed. 


Remembrance Day (originally called ‘Armistice Day)’, was first observed in 1919 throughout the British Commonwealth to commemorate the armistice agreement that marked the end of the First World War on November 11, 1918. Each year it is a day that evokes many reminders and emotions. For some, it’s filled with the memory of the battle and of comrades who sadly never made it home, for others it’s for honouring and respecting earlier generations who served such courageous duty, and for others (if not all), it’s a reminder of the many sacrifices our Veterans endured, to pave the way for our freedoms. 


Canadians are fortunate to remember and give thanks to such a diverse population of freedom fighters, inclusive of Veterans from many cultural, religious, gender and ethnic backgrounds. Veterans Affairs Canada writes that our determined Indigenous volunteers “were often forced to overcome many challenges to serve in uniform, from learning a new language and adapting to cultural differences, to having to travel great distances from their remote communities just to enlist”. As a country, Canada’s diversity is a source of pride and strength, which is as much recognized and supported today as it was all those years ago. 


Today, the date is marked as a federal statutory holiday here in Canada, with Ottawa continuing to host the national ceremony each year. Not to let our fallen be forgotten, the national event is both televised and, through The Royal Canadian Legion, available live online along with a list of local, nationwide ceremonies if the public wish to attend in person on the day. (Local Legion-led events are being held under the advice of Canada’s medical experts regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, and so it is encouraged to check with your nearest branch online for their policy regarding attendance. Pandemic restrictions may require smaller ceremonies or cancellation. Some gatherings are being replaced with virtual ceremonies). 


2021 Marks 100 Years of the Poppy 


Every year on this date, blood-red poppies are worn as a symbol of respect and remembrance. This visual emblem stems from Ontario-born John McCrae’s poem ‘In Flanders Fields’, written in 1915 on a solemn day following the death of a fellow soldier, with his tribute referencing the poppies that grew native along the battlefields of the Western Front. The Canadian War Museum details that during the First World War, “enormous artillery bombardments completely disrupted the landscape, infusing the chalk soils with lime. The poppies thrived in the environment, their colours standing out against the blasted terrain”. A bright indication of nature’s ability to breathe life where such devastation gathered death. 


In Flanders Fields 


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. 

– John McCrae 


Inspired by the poem, Madame Anna Guérin (nicknamed the ‘poppy lady from France’), had the idea to start creating fabric poppies and selling them, raising money to support wounded Veterans following the First World War, the tradition commenced here in Canada in 1921 after she presented her concept to The Great War Veterans Association (now The Royal Canadian Legion). This year, on the 100th anniversary of the poppy in Canada, the Legion and its members continue to uphold this visual custom and so you would have again seen dedicated members and volunteers out and about on our streets distributing this iconic, affixable red flower (to be worn respectfully on your left side over your heart). While free, a donation is kindly accepted to directly support Canada’s Veterans and their families in need. 


Remembrance Day is a day to stand proud, a day for peace and a day to remember. Because they will not be forgotten. 


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This article is in no way meant to cause any misrepresentation of historical fact and has been written solely for the purpose to show support for this event.