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We must remember!
 
If we do not, the sacrifice of those one hundred thousand Canadian lives will be meaningless. They died for us, for their homes and families and friends, for a collection of traditions they cherished and a future they believed in; they died for Canada.

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Canadians are asked to pause and remember the thousands of men and women who sacrificed their lives fighting for freedom and democracy during the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean War and during peacekeeping missions.

During the First World War, (1914-1918) more than 600,000 soldiers volunteered to go overseas. As of November 2004, Veterans Affairs Canada is aware of 8 veterans of the First World War who are still alive. One is a woman. Their average age is 103. These soldiers fought in a series of costly and bloody battles and by the end of the war, more than 69,000 Canadian soldiers had died and 172,000 were wounded.

They died fighting at Vimy Ridge, Hill 70, Bourlon Wood, Mons, Passchendaele and Ypres. In Ypres, Canadian soldiers were exposed to German gas attacks, yet continued to fight. They showed amazing tenacity and courage in the face of danger.

During the Second World War, (1939-45) more than one million men and women from Canada and Newfoundland served in combat in the army, air force and navy. More than 47,000 men and women did not come home from that battle.

Canadians lost their lives fighting in Dieppe, Normandy, the North Atlantic, defending Hong Kong, during the liberation of Italy, and in many other important air, sea and land campaigns.

As of November 2004, 268,110 veterans from this world war were alive, with an average age of 82.

In Korea, 516 Canadian soldiers died during the 1950-53 conflict, in which 26,791 Canadians served. The battles of Hill 355 and Hill 187, among others, saw Canadians fighting in swamps and rice fields, through torrential rain and snow, in the air and at sea.

In 2003, Canada marked the 50th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice by unveiling the Monument to Canadian Fallen at Confederation Park in Ottawa.

The words "WE WILL NEVER FORGET YOU BRAVE SONS OF CANADA" are inscribed at the base of the monument, which also contains the names of all 516 Canadians who lost their lives in Korean War service or subsequent Korean peacekeeping service.

In 2004, Canada also remembered the 60th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, where Canadian troops suffered 18,444 casualties. Among them, 5021 were killed. Of all the divisions which formed part of the 21 Army Group, none suffered more casualties than the 3rd and 2nd Canadian.

It was a huge sacrifice – and a huge factor in turning the tide of the war against Hitler's Germany.

The first Remembrance Day, held in 1919 throughout the Commonwealth, was originally called Armistice Day. The day commemorated the end of the First World War on Monday, November 11, 1918, at 11 a.m.: the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Last updated on Nov 10, 2006 22:00. Page viewed 10531 times.