10 Quick Facts on Remembrance day
Remembrance Day was first observed in 1919 throughout the British Commonwealth. It was originally called “Armistice Day” to commemorate armistice agreement that ended the First World War on Monday, November 11, 1918, at 11 a.m.— on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. . From 1921 to 1930, Armistice Day was held on the Monday of the week in which November 11 fell. In 1931, Alan Neill, Member of Parliament for Comox–Alberni, introduced a bill to observe Armistice Day only on November 11. Passed by the House of Commons, the bill also changed the name to “Remembrance Day”. The first Remembrance Day was observed on November 11, 1931. . Every year on November 11, Canadians pause in a moment of silence to honour and remember the men and women who have served, and continue to serve Canada during times of war, conflict and peace. We remember the more than 1,500,000 Canadians who have served throughout our nation’s history and the more than 118,000 who made the ultimate sacrifice. . The poppy is the symbol of Remembrance Day. Replica poppies are sold by the Royal Canadian Legion to provide assistance to Veterans. 5. Remembrance Day is a federal statutory holiday in Canada. It is also a statutory holiday in three territories (Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut) and in six provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador). . The national ceremony is held at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. The Governor General of Canada presides over the ceremony. It is also attended by the Prime Minister, other government officials, representatives of Veterans’ organizations, diplomatic representatives, other dignitaries, Vet- erans as well as the general public. 7. In advance of the ceremony, long columns of Veterans, Canadian Armed Forces members, RCMP officers, and cadets march to the memorial lead by a pipe band and a colour guard. At the end of the ceremony, they march away to officially close the ceremony. 8. Some of the 54 Commonwealth member states, such as Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, observe the tradition of Remembrance Day on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Other nations observe a solemn day but at different dates. For example, ANZAC Day is observed in New Zealand on April 25. In South Africa, Poppy Day is marked on the Sunday that falls closest to November 11. 9. Many nations that are not members of the Commonwealth also observe Remembrance Day on November 11, including France, Belgium and Poland. 0. The United States used to commemorate Armistice Day on November . However, in 1954 they changed the name to Veterans Day. 7he 3oSSy The Poppy Campaign begins on the last Friday in October and continues through to November 11th. The Lapel Poppy can be worn every day of the Poppy Campaign and is removed at the end of the Remembrance Day ceremony. Many people place their poppy on a wreath or at the base of the cenotaph or memorial as a sign of respect at the end of the ceremony. The poppy may be worn at commemorative events throughout the year, such as anniversaries of significant battles, a memorial service, and other similar occasions. (Event organizers should seek advice from the Royal Canadian Legion on the use of the poppy for events outside of the Poppy Campaign.) The Royal Canadian Legion suggests that the poppy be worn on the left lapel of a garment and as close to the heart as possible. The poppy became widespread in Europe after soils in France and Belgium became rich in lime from debris and rubble from the fighting during the First World War. These little red flowers also flourished around the gravesites of the war dead. In 1915, John McCrae, a doctor serving with the Canadian Artillery, famously made note of this phenomenon in his poem, In Flanders Fields. On Saturday November 9, 1918, two days before the Armistice, Moina Michael was on duty in the reading room at the YMCA Overseas War Secretaries’ headquarters in New York—a place where U.S. servicemen would often gather with friends and family to say their goodbyes before they went overseas. After reading McCrae’s poem, Moina made a personal pledge to always wear the red poppy of Flanders Fields as a sign of remembrance and for “keeping the faith with all who died.” In 1920, Anna Guérin—the French Poppy Lady—attended the national American Legion convention as a representative of France’s YMCA Secretariat. She was inspired by Moina Michael’s idea of the poppy as a memorial flower and felt that the scope of the Memorial Poppy could be expanded to help the needy. She suggested that artificial poppies could be made and sold as a way of raising money for the benefit of orphaned children and others who had suffered greatly as a result of the war. In 1921, Madame Guérin visited Canada and convinced the Great War Veterans Association of Canada (predecessor to the Royal Canadian Legion) to adopt the poppy as a symbol of remembrance in aid of fundraising; which it did on July 5th of that year. Today, the Poppy Campaign is one of the Royal Canadian Legion’s most important programs. The money raised from donations provides direct assistance for Veterans in financial distress, as well as funding for medical equipment, medical research, home services, long term care facilities and many other purposes.