Remembrance Day will be closer to normal this year as COVID restrictions ease, with in-person ceremonies starting again across the country to honor Canadian veterans.
The ceremonies, which take place at various monuments and cenotaphs across the country, allow Canadians to honor veterans who fought and died for their country.
In Ottawa, the national Remembrance Day ceremony will be held at the National War Memorial, where the public will stand alongside veterans, current military personnel and government officials. Last year’s service took place virtually due to COVID-19. As the pandemic continues, The Royal Canadian Legion urges anyone attending an event, indoors or outdoors, to wear a mask and maintain physical distance from others.
Watch Global News’ Remembrance Day live coverage in Ottawa starting at 10:30 a.m.ET on our Global TV app, YouTube, Facebook or at Globalews.ca.
The national ceremony is scheduled to begin at 10:45 a.m. ET, but unlike previous in-person ceremonies, there will be no veterans parade. Two minutes of silence will be observed to commemorate the sacrifices of the Canadian military at 11 a.m. ET.
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The ceremony was out of order in the traditional sense where the national anthem and the last message, which traditionally signal the two minutes of silence, only took place after the two minutes. The Prime Minister and the Governor General both arrived later than originally planned.
Dean Oliver, chief curator at the Canadian Museum of History, told Global News he had never seen the national ceremony start later than originally planned.
Oliver said the delay was “most unusual” and with the uncertainty people should give dignitaries a little slack until we find out the reasoning.
According to a statement provided to Global News by Veterans Affairs Canada, the delay in the arrival of the Prime Minister and Governor General was caused by a potential security risk.
“Prior to Remembrance Day ceremony today in Ottawa, a security issue was identified and quickly resolved. The ceremony continued after a short delay, ”wrote a spokesperson.
Veterans Affairs Canada did not specify what or what the risk was.
The Royal Canadian Legion
When asked what Remembrance Day means to Canadians, Oliver said people will likely have different interpretations, especially as times change, but the essence is to honor those who have come before us. .
“It changes over time, just like the history it reflects. On some level, it’s about you and me and one-on-one engagement with people, battles or places we remember or cherish, ”Oliver said. “On another level, it is about someone else, those whom we remember or on whom we wish to reflect or respect and our bond with them, a mark of respect for their service, their activities, their time.”
Each year, a Silver Cross mother is chosen by the Legion to lay a wreath at the National War Memorial during the ceremony. According to the Legion, the Silver Cross is a “remembrance of the personal loss and sacrifice on the part of the widows and mothers of Canadian sailors, airmen and soldiers who died for their country in the war.”
This year’s recipient is Josée Simard, daughter of Cpl. Karine Blais served as a soldier in the Canadian army. Cpl. Blais was killed on April 23, 2009 when an armored vehicle she was traveling in struck a roadside bomb in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
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New Defense Minister Anita Ananda spoke to Global News’s Mercedes Stephenson about what she is doing to help address systemic issues of misogyny and sexual harassment within the military.
“One of the most important things for me and for our government is that we have an institution where all who serve feel protected, respected and safe,” Anand said.
Anand, who succeeded Harjit Sajjan, has already pledged to transfer cases of military sexual misconduct to the civilian justice system.
“I am working very hard with my teams so that we can restore confidence within the Canadian Armed Forces for the benefit of the members and our country in general,” she said.
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Reflecting on what Remembrance Day means to herself, Anand noted that “we owe our soldiers a debt of gratitude” and, through her new job, she constantly sees how much the military prioritizes. their country.
“I have met members of the Canadian Armed Forces and see how they put service first and foremost every day,” said Anand
One of the most popular Remembrance Day themes is the red poppy, which is seen as a symbol in honor of Canadians who have made great sacrifices for their country and also serves to raise funds for the needs of the elders. fighters. The well-known symbol marks the 100th anniversary this year.
“In July 1921, the Association of Veterans of the Great War (which in 1925 would unite with other veterans groups to form the Canadian Legion) adopted the poppy as a Flower of Remembrance,” according to the Royal Canadian Legion.
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Tim O’Loan, an Indigenous veteran who served in the Canadian Armed Forces from 1983 to 1993, served at the National War Memorial. The 10-year-old veteran said it was important for him to talk about and shed light on residential schools on Remembrance Day.
He said that many people in Canada and around the world are unaware of the involvement of Aboriginal people in wars or residential schools.
O’Loan said part of the story is incredibly dark and while this is happening Indigenous people have continued to serve in the military and it is important to talk about their service and the residential schools collectively. .
“I’m talking about this as the empty and quiet chapter of Canada in our history book, well, it’s time to fill it out,” he said, “unpacking this story is part of reconciliation.”
Putting it in historical context, Oliver noted that Canada would not be where it is if the Indigenous peoples did not help them in the War of 1812 against the Americans.
“The history of Aboriginal service in Canada’s armed forces predates the creation of Canada. And one could say, like the events of 1812, that Canada owes much of its existence to Aboriginal military service.
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According to Oliver, at least 500 Indigenous people have died in the service of their country. Right now, Oliver has said at least four percent of the armed forces are Indigenous.
He added to O’Loan’s sentiment of the internal challenges faced by Indigenous veterans who were treated like second-class citizens, but welcomed into the military. Often many of them carried a “double burden” according to Oliver, some also suffering from the scars of war and residential schools.
“The stories they brought to service included many things, including the lack of respect for their existence, their culture, their language in the Canada they proudly served.
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