All Canadian children are familiar with the concept of Remembrance Day. Every November 11th, they go to a ceremony where there is a parade and they stand in silence until a bugle horn begins to play. We are taught the significance of the ceremony and how it commemorates those who died in armed conflicts. The significance of Remembrance Day is much greater than what we think. It is also a day that some veterans had to fight for in order to get recognition. Here are 5 facts about Remembrance Day that you may not have known.
1. Remembrance Day used to be known as Armistice Day
Most of the British Empire recognized the end of World War I as Armistice Day. It was celebrated on the second Monday in November, which at the time was the same day as Thanksgiving. In the past, there was less public demonstration to honor this day. While most veterans and their families would gather in churches and local memorials, they were supported by few other Canadians. It wasn't until 1928 where recognized citizens, most of whom were veterans, pushed for greater recognition. They also wanted a day of remembrance that didn't coincide with the Thanksgiving holiday. In 1931, it was decreed that Remembrance Day would fall on November 11 and would emphasize the memory of fallen soldiers.
2. Two-minutes of silence is held at 11 am
On November 11, 1918, the armistice was signed at 5 am in a railway carriage in France. The first World War ended six hours later, at 11 am. A two-minute silence is observed to remember those who lost their lives in conflict. The moment of silence is due to the practice in Cape Town, South Africa, where they held a daily three-minute silence. This was known as the Three Minute Pause. One minute was in thanksgiving for those who had returned alive, the second minute was to remember the fallen.
3. Poppies are worn during a remembrance period
The poppy is the symbol of Remembrance Day. Poppies are worn for a remembrance period that runs from the last Friday in October until November 11. The tradition to wear poppies began when the red flower was seen growing over the graves of soldiers. Poppies are also worn at other memorial events throughout the year, such as anniversaries of important battles. Every year, the Royal Canadian Legion sells replica poppies to provide assistance to veterans in need.
4. The National Remembrance Day Ceremony
The Canadian Legion organizes the National Remembrance Day Ceremony on behalf of the people of Canada. The Governor General of Canada presides over the ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. The ceremony is broadcast nationally and can be watched from 10:15 am to 12:00 pm through Facebook Live stream.
5. The National Silver Cross Mother
Every year, the Royal Canadian Legion chooses a candidate to be the National Silver Cross Mother. This representative symbolizes all mothers whose sons or daughters died while on active duty. The annual honoree places a wreath at the base of the National War Memorial at the National Remembrance Day Ceremony.
Remembrance Day in Coquitlam
The Royal Canadian Legion #263 will host the traditional Remembrance Day ceremony at the Blue Mountain Park Cenotaph. The ceremony will begin at 9:45 am at Como Lake Middle School. At 10:30 am, a parade will follow along Winslow Avenue to the cenotaph on Veteran's Way. Service at the cenotaph will begin at 11 am. More details about this event can also be found on the City of Coquitlam website here.