Thousands of Canadians stood at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Friday, November 11, 2011, mindful of more than 100,000 Canadian soldiers who have sacrificed their lives on behalf of our country, for freedom, for their comrades, for every Canadian.
The Ottawa Remembrance Day ceremony is the largest in the country, observed officially on November 11 since 1931. The crowd is joined by the Prime Minister, the Governor General and the Silver Cross Mother, a mother who has lost a child in action. Patricia Braun’s son, Cpl. David Braun, was killed in Kandahar in 2006.
It’s hard to find a jacket or scarf among the Ottawa thousands without a crimson poppy. The powerful symbol of recollection and hope was adopted in Canada in 1921, because the flower was the first thing to take root above the hastily dug graves of Flanders Fields after World War I. After the service hundreds silently laid their poppies on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Many attending the ceremony were eager to speak about the significance of the day, if only to say, “Thank you.”
Slideshow by Marlin Olynyk Audio by Carolina Novotny and Nick Walker Text by Nick Walker
Carolina Novotny is a journalist and world traveler. Nick Walker is pursuing his master's degree in history at the University of Ottawa. Both are editorial interns at Canadian Geographic.