What is Remembrance Day?
Remembrance Day timeline
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.
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.
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?
How to Observe Remembrance Day
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.