Remembrance Day – November 11, 2019

Mon Nov 11

What is Remembrance Day?

 

Remembrance Day, observed in Commonwealth nations on November 11, holds much the same meaning as America’s Veterans Day. 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. (The Commonwealth includes 53 member states, nearly all of them former territories of the British Empire.)
 

History of Remembrance Day

 
Remembrance Day, also known as Poppy Day, due to the tradition of the remembrance poppy, is a day observed in Commonwealth member states. The tradition goes back to the end of the First World War as a way to honor the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. King George V began the holiday in 1919.
 
The tradition of Remembrance Day evolved out of Armistice Day. The initial Armistice Day began at Buckingham Palace, with the king hosting a banquet honoring the French president. Later, during World War II, many countries changed the name of the holiday. The U.S. chose Veterans Day.
 
Remembrance Day in Canada, known as Jour du Souvenir, remains a statutory holiday in six of the 10 provinces. The Armistice Day Act, which held throughout the 1920s, declared that Canada’s Thanksgiving would also be observed on Armistice Day — the Monday of the week in which November 11 fell. The government, in 1931, officially changed the date to November 11. The name also changed to Remembrance Day. Canada’s Thanksgiving now falls on the second Monday in October
 
Canada has declared that the date is of “remembrance for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict and peace”; particularly the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, and all conflicts since then in which members of the Canadian Armed Forces have participated.
 
The government also runs a program called Canada Remembers with the mission of helping young and new Canadians, most of whom have never known war, “come to understand and appreciate what those who have served Canada in times of war, armed conflict and peace stand for and what they have sacrificed for their country.”

Remembrance Day timeline

1954

The U.S. Changes Armistice Day to Veterans Day

While the UK changed the name of Armistice day some 23 years earlier, the U.S. didn't get around to expanding the meaning of the holiday until 1954 when it changed it to Veterans Day to honor all who served, regardless of war or if they made "the last full measure of devotion."

November 11, 1931

A Day for Remembrance

On this day, Armistice Day officially became Remembrance Day as it was the first time it had been celebrated under that name. Many countries, including those not part of the Commonwealth, still hold this day. 

1919

Remembrance Day first recognized

Though it was called Armistice Day then, Remembrance Day was first celebrated by King George V in honor of those who fell during the First World War. 

1914

WWI begins

Great Britain declares war on Germany. This brings Canada into the war (because of the country’s legal status as a British dominion) and leaves its foreign policy to the whims of the British parliament — 3,300 miles away. Still, Canadians of British descent offer widespread support.

Remembrance Day FAQs

Why do we celebrate Remembrance Day?

Remembrance Day honors soldiers who fought for their countries not only in World War I — but in all conflicts.

What happens on Remembrance Day in Australia?

Australia’s teachers deliver specially prepared lessons aimed at helping students understand the significance of the day — while developing skills to overcome adversity.

Does Germany observe Remembrance Day?

Germany doesn’t commemorate the signing of the armistice, although the country has another national day of mourning instead.  
 

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 11am, 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 time, 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

  1. It's an opportunity to reflect on Canada's past

    Remembrance Day is a time to reflect on the role Canada played in the conflict, as well as its historical relations with the rest of the Commonwealth.

  2. 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.

  3. It's an excuse to spend time with family

    Since Remembrance Day is a statutory holiday, many Canadians have an extra day to catch up on quality time with family members. For those with relatives who died while serving in the military, Remembrance Day is an extra special time for remembering and honoring those loved ones.

Remembrance Day dates
YearDateDay
2019November 12Tuesday
2020November 12Thursday
2021November 12Friday
2022November 12Saturday
2023November 12Sunday