Why We Celebrate Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day is a memorial day observed by Canadians and other members of the Commonwealth since the end of the First World War in order to remember all those who fought and died in the line of duty to keep us free.  Every year on November 11, Canadians pause in a moment of silence to honour and remember more than 2 million Canadians who have served, and continue to serve, Canada during times of war, conflict, and peace.  If we do not remember, their sacrifice is meaningless.

 

A Brief History of Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day was first observed in 1919 throughout the British Commonwealth and was originally called Armistice Day to commemorate the armistice agreement that ended the First World War on Monday, November 11, 1918, at 11:00 am.  Until 1930, Armistice Day was held on the Monday of the week in which November 11 fell.  In 1931 a bill was introduced to observe Armistice Day only on November 11, and to change its name to Remembrance Day.  The first Remembrance Day was observed on November 11, 1931.

 

How People Celebrate Remembrance Day

Every November 11th, the official Canadian national ceremonies are held at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, ON according to a strict protocol with the Governor General presiding over the ceremony.  A service is held and armed services representatives lay wreaths.  Church services are held across Canada, which often include the playing of “The Last Post”, a reading of “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae, and two minutes of silence at 11:00.

 

Symbols of Remembrance Day

The most well known symbol associated with Remembrance Day is the poppy due to the poem “In Flanders Fields” by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae.  At first real poppies were worn, but now most people wear replica poppies, and their vibrant red colour became a symbol for the blood spilled in the wars.  There are a variety of war memorials throughout Canada as well in order to remember those who fought and died.  By remembering the service and sacrifice of Canadians who served in the World Wars, we recognize the freedom that they fought to preserve.  We must remember.