Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Canada's Remembrance Day

Canadians pause and reflect on Remembrance Day, which is held to commemorate the services of her soldiers and veterans. It is held on November 11 to recall the end of World War I in 1918. From early in November, it is usual to see people around the country wearing poppies.I pass the University of Toronto on the way to work and this morning was surprised to see something on the Atheletic field. It seemed to be a sea of white.Upon closer inspection, I realized these were crosses, or mock-graves, all 628 of them, to mark those students, staff or faculty from the university who had gone off and died fighting for Canada in World War I.
Around 10.30 pm, there was a service at the University of Toronto, beneath the Soldier's Tower. It was very well attended, despite the chill now prevalent in our November mornings.

I always had a thing for bagpipes (maybe it had something to do with Braveheart) but the music is so sombre, reflective. I saw some people with tears in their eyes, and some young people had come with their grandparents, some of whom had army uniforms on.

After that, I walked over to Queen's Park, where our provincial parliament sits. There, at 11.11 and onwards, they do a 21-gun salute with these cannons.

Memorial Day is a holiday in the USA, but I think it's right that it's not in Canada. Otherwise, it would just become another Long weekend with people taking time off to enjoy and party, rather than reflect on the country's long history.

In the service, they had a Jewish prayer and a hymn recited. I didn't mind, as this was more of a tribute to World War I soldiers, but in future wars, as Canada grows more and more multicultural, expect to see Quran and Islamic prayers incorporated into future prayer services.


'liya said...

I appreciate how it's a day to reflect as well. I was pleased at school this year that our assembly did go beyond the world wars and also included recent events (in a very fair way also mentioning innocent people).

Bagpipes always remind me of my first grade teacher who always played them at the assemblies. She was Scottish and I think the only woman I still know who can play (and hold) one :)

mezba said...

Wow, I have never met anyone who could play the bagpipes, it truly is a beautiful sound.

I know somone from the Scottish regiment and at UofT they lay a wreath for some dead from this regiment, so the guy makes it a point to attend every year and this year I joined him, hence the pictures.