Skip to main content

Harold Davis,87, stands at attention as the band played God Save the Queen during Remembrance Day ceremonies at Old City Hall in Toronto on Nov 11 2010. Davis served in the Royal CanadianCorp of Signals from 1939-1945 during the Second World War.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail


As Ginette Fecteau walked up to the Croix du Souvenir and laid a wreath at the foot of the cross, her thoughts went out to her son Sébastien Courcy, who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country in Afghanistan.

Private Courcy of the Royal 22nd Regiment was 26 when he was killed during a firefight near Kandahar city in 2009.

Story continues below advertisement

The presence of his family, and others who lost relatives in Afghanistan, is changing the face of Remembrance Day in this country.

The ceremony rekindled memories for 87-year old Second World War veteran Léo Dionne, who fought in France with the Maisonneuve Regiment.

"On this day I go back on the beach with the guys for a couple of hours. But then I have to forget because I have to keep on living," he said, recalling a 1945 military operation when 695 men went into battle but only 492 came back. "I was one of the lucky guys." - Rhéal Séguin


In a room packed with current and former soldiers, Donald Ethell holds much sway.

A retired colonel who first joined the Canadian Forces in 1955, Mr. Ethell is a former member of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, based in Edmonton, and now serves as Alberta's Lieutenant-Governor.

Thursday, just before 11 a.m. local time, Mr. Ethell called on Edmonton residents and CF members to remember the sacrifices of those that came before all of them.

Story continues below advertisement

"The lessons learned from these terrible conflicts must never fade from our collective consciousness," Mr. Ethell told a crowd of more than 5,000 who packed into the University of Alberta's Butterdome track and field facility for the city's largest ceremony. "We can never afford to be complacent - we must never afford to be complacent - with progress made or lessons learned." - Josh Wingrove


At Stanley Park, in a leafy glen overlooking Burrard Inlet, scores bowed their heads in remembrance during a special ceremony at the park's little-known Japanese Canadian War Memorial, erected in 1920.

Displaying no trace of bitterness over the community's Second World War interment, Roy Kawamoto brushed aside a tear, as he declared: "We Shall Remember Them." Numerous wreaths were laid at the foot of the single-column memorial. Buddhist priest Rev. Tatsuya Aoki paid tribute to those who died, reminding the audience that, despite their sacrifice, "they continue to live in each of our hearts and continue to be part of our lives".

Fifty-four Japanese-Canadian soldiers died during the First World War. With enlistees almost totally barred from the Second World War until the very end, only one Japanese-Canadian perished overseas, Trooper Minoru Tanaka. He is buried in Holland.

There was no band to play "O Canada" and "God Save the Queen." Instead, those present sang each anthem without accompaniment, their heartfelt voices effectively piercing the damp November air. - Rod Mickleburgh

Story continues below advertisement

Report an error Licensing Options
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.