OTTAWA: At the stroke of 11:00 am on Remembrance Day on Wednesday, a gun boomed at the National War Memorial in Ottawa – marking the start of a moment of silence to think about Canadian men and women in uniform who served in wars in which Canada was part of in the cause of freedom and liberty.
Instead of the huge crowds that gather at the memorial every year, this year saw only a small attendance of about a hundred dignitaries, active members of the Armed Services, veterans and members of the public.
Canadians across the countries watched the ceremonies on their television sets, while provincial capitals and major cities held their own small events.
Governor General Julie Payette, along with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde and Debbie Sullivan, this year’s Silver Cross Mother participated in the traditional wreath-laying ceremonies at the foot of the memorial.
A miliary band played the Last Post and a singer from the Ottawa Children’s Choir sand the national anthem.
CBC quoted a veteran in Ottawa, Bill Black, a veteran who served on the HCMS Cayuga for two years during the Korean War, as saying: “That’s when I go back in time and think about our men who served in the Second World War and our losses in Korea,” said Black of the annual moment of silence. “I’m thinking about our soldiers, sailors and airmen who served.”
In partnership with Veterans Affairs Canada, The Royal Canadian Legion had arranged a fly-past of three heritage planes that were essential aircraft for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) during the Second World War.
The flypast was, however, cancelled because of bad weather. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, issued the following statement on Remembrance Day: “Today, on Remembrance Day, we honour the brave Canadians in uniform who have served, and continue to serve, our country in times of war, conflict, and peace.
“To those who have been injured in the line of duty, who have lived with the physical and mental scars of war, and who have made the ultimate sacrifice – we remember. We also honour their family members – parents, siblings, children, and spouses – who have given up time with their loved ones, in the name of our country.
“In the face of hardship and fear, our veterans and service members have always shown immense courage and selflessness. From Vimy Ridge and Juno Beach to Korea, Cyprus, and Afghanistan, their commitment to protecting the rights of others and to defending the principles of peace, freedom, and democracy has never faltered.
“These ordinary Canadians became honoured heroes and made extraordinary sacrifices to ensure a better, safer, and brighter future for people in Canada and around the world.
“We honour all those who risked their lives for our freedom and those we lost in service of their country this year, including Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough, Sub-Lieutenant Matthew Pyke, Master Corporal Matthew Cousins, Captain Maxime MironMorin, Captain Kevin Hagen, Captain Brenden Ian MacDonald, Captain Jennifer Casey, and Corporal James Choi. Like those who have gone before them, those who may have been facing their own battles, and those whose names Canadians may not know, they gave their lives in service of a better Canada.
Ottawa: Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, and Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, also issued a statement to mark Remembrance Day: “Initially known as Armistice Day, Remembrance Day was first observed throughout much of the British Commonwealth in 1919, to commemorate the agreement that ended the First World War on Monday, 11 November 1918, at 11 a.m.
“Since then, Canadians have gathered every year at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month to honour and remember those who’ve served our country in uniform.
“This year, as we mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, we reflect on the bravery of the more than one million Canadians and Newfoundlanders who served in every theatre of that conflict. We honour their sacrifices, and all that it took – more than 100,000 killed or wounded – to secure that hardwon peace.
We also remember the 50,000 remarkable Canadian women who enlisted in the army, navy and air force to do their part for the war effort.
TORONTO: Ontario Premier Doug Ford and members of the military, along with a small number of dignitaries joined a service at Queen’s Park in Toronto. Doug Ford said: “RemembranceDay showcases the courage, valour & sacrifice of those who have served –and continue to serve – Canada during times of conflict.
“Our government will always stand shoulder to shoulder with our Veterans, our active servicemen and servicewomen, & our military families.”
He later tweeted: “ This morning, I visited Sunnybrook’s Veterans Residence for Operation Raise a Flag. It was important for me to show my respect and gratitude for their hard work and sacrifice A small function was also held in front of the cenotaph at Toronto’s Old City Hall, with Mayor John Tory presiding.