Written By: Milan Mammen
Today marks the 101st anniversary of Remembrance Day, with everyone remembering the fallen soldiers who have served Canada in the nation’s defence. But there is more than just simply wearing a poppy on the left side over your heart.
Remembrance Day was originally called Armistice Day to memorialize the armistice agreement that ended the First World War on Monday, November 11, 1918, at 11 a.m. From 1921 to 1930, Armistice Day was celebrated on the Monday of the week where November 11th fell. Although, this changed when Alan Neill, who was a member of Parliament for Comox-Alberni, introduced a bill to honour Armistice Day only on November 11 and for Armistice Day to instead be called Remembrance Day. Every year since then, Canadians stop and reflect in a moment of silence at 11 am for 2 minutes to pay tribute to more than 2, 300, 000 Canadians who served for Canada’s peace in the First World. It is not only Canada who acknowledges November 11, but also other countries such as France, Belgium, Poland and the United States of America, standing united to bring to the fore of the events during the World War.
To give prominence to Remembrance Day, Canadians, wear poppies which were a common sight on the battlefield. Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was inspired by the sight of poppies growing in battlefields and later wrote a famous poem called “In Flanders Fields” in the spring of 1915 shortly after losing his friend in the battle of Ypres, influencing the adoption of the poppy as a symbol for Remembrance Day. Furthermore, there are war memorials across Canada that hold events to recognize this day such as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, The National War Memorial in Ottawa, The Victoria Memorial in British Columbia or The Halifax Memorial.
There are also several events in our very own community. In Brampton, street light banners are along Queen Street and Main Street to spotlight local veterans who have served or are in the force. There were poppy campaigns and a flag-raising ceremony in which all funds raised were towards Canada’s serving and retired veterans and their families. Additionally, today there are parades and services of remembrance at City Hall in downtown Brampton and at Chinguacousy Park, and a Remembrance Day Sunrise Service at the Meadowvale Cemetery, all to commemorate Canadian soldiers.
In the end, it’s more than simply looking at the political and military events that lead up to the victory of the First World War. Instead, its to acknowledge and highlight the soldiers that went to go fight for Canadian’s freedom. “For those who leave never to return. For those who return but are never the same. We remember. '' - Unknown.