Remembrance Day marks the anniversary of the official end of the World War I hostilities on November 11, 1918.
World War I was a massive global conflict, primarily playing out in Europe, where troops from Canada supported the Allied forces.In addition to the physical scars, the war left great emotional scars on the servicemen and women who had experienced it – and in the communities that lost sons, brothers, uncles, daughters, sisters and aunts. Remembrance Day commemorates those who died in armed conflicts, particularly in and since World War I.
Remembrance Day is symbolized by the Poppy, proudly worn or placed singly or as wreaths at memorials across the country and around the world. The use of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance comes from a poem written by John McCrae, a Canadian doctor serving in the military. The poem is called “In Flanders Fields” and describes the poppies growing in the Flemish graveyards where soldiers were buried.
Poppies grow well and in large numbers on battle fields where the soil has been disturbed. The red colour of their petals reminded people of the blood lost by casualties in the conflict.
Other symbols of Remembrance Day are the war memorials, which are often near the geographical centre of communities. These commemorate members of the community lost in military action. A particularly well-known memorial is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa.
Although Remembrance Day in Canada concentrates on honouring those who fought in the First World War, the Second World War and the Korean War, we should also take the time to pay our respects to the Canadians who are currently serving around the world to maintain our rights and freedoms and to those who have lost their lives in other conflicts.