Remembrance Day: November 11
Remembrance Day is a public holiday in Canada.
On Monday, November 11, 1918, at the hour of 11 A.M., World War I officially came to an end with the formalization of the armistice treaty between the Allies and Germany. All told, over 15 million people were killed in the brutal conflict leaving lasting impressions on much of the world’s population.
Due to the significance of the events of not only World War 1 but also other wars that take the lives of so many, Canada—among many other countries—celebrates Remembrance Day.
History of Canada Remembrance Day
Remembrance Day started in Canada as Armistice Day, and was celebrated within the entire British Commonwealth. King George V declared that the day be observed, though some suggest that King George possibly picked up the idea from Edward George Honey who suggested the remembrance to Wellesley Tudor Pole.
The armistice was signed in a railway carriage in Compiègne, France, with a set of terms laid out to Germany to terminate hostilities, remove troops, and surrender equipment.
Private George Lawrence Price is considered to be the final Canadian soldier to perish during the war. He was shot at 10:58 while on a mission to advance on the small village of Havré, and he died a minute later, just before the armistice was to go into effect.
Canada Remembrance Day Traditions, Customs and Activities
At the National War Memorial in Ottawa, the Governor General of Canada among other dignitaries traditionally presides over the official national ceremonies. Since the erection of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in 2000 at the War Memorial, the public now pays their respects by placing poppies across and near the tomb.
Poppies are an inseparable part of the customs of this holiday. The source of this custom resides in the poem “In Flanders Fields” written by Canadian John McCrae and published on December 8, 1915. The poppy is mentioned in the poem, and it was chosen as an apt symbol for Remembrance Day due to the red color of the flower that bloomed across some of the bloodiest battlefields in Flanders.
The poppies—real and artificial—are pinned on shirts, placed on graves, or formed into wreathes as a symbol of remembering the fallen.