Every country has a special day commemorating those who fought and died in the line of duty. Remembrance Day in Canada holds much the same meaning as its counterparts in the U.S. and the Commonwealth of Nations. Celebrated throughout the entire Commonwealth on Nov. 11 since the end of WWI, Remembrance Day actually marks Armistice Day—the day on which the hostilities between the Allies and Germany ceased on the Western Front. Now, the Canadian Remembrance Day honors all Canadians who died while serving in the military in all past wars.
How to Observe Remembrance Day
1. Wear a red poppy on your lapel
After WWI, the red poppy quickly came to symbolize the blood shed by soldiers on the Western Front. To honor those who died in both WWI and in other wars, pin a poppy to your shirt lapel—you'll be joining millions of Commonwealth residents all over the world in this silent but meaningful gesture.
2. Participate in the nationwide two minutes of silence
At 11:00 AM, join the rest of the country in observing two minute of silence to commemorate the time at which the Armistice was signed in 1918. During this minute, Canadians stop everything to focus their thoughts on remembering all soldiers who died in the line of duty.
3. Cite the poem 'The Ode of Remembrance'
Written by Laurence Binyon in 1914, the "Ode of Remembrance" is part of the poem "For the Fallen," which originally honored the British soldiers who died on the Western Front. It is now recited as a general commemoration of all soldiers who died in the line of duty.
Why Remembrance Day is Important
A. It's an opportunity to reflect on Canada's past
On November 11, 1918, at 11:00 AM, soldiers put down their weapons on the Western Front of WWI—one of the deadliest battlegrounds in military history. Remembrance Day is a time to reflect on the role Canada played in the Armistice, as well as its historical relations with the rest of the Commonwealth.
B. We get to wear poppies
The bright red poppy is the symbol of Remembrance Day all over the world. Why the poppy? Poppies were a common sight on the Western Front—amidst all the violence, these bright red flowers pushed through the soil, reminding soldiers that there is beauty and hope in the world.
C. It's an excuse to spend time with family
Since Remembrance Day is a statutory holiday, we have an extra day to catch up on quality time with family members. For those of us with relatives who died while serving in the military, Remembrance Day is an extra special time for remembering and honoring those loved ones.