Remembrance Day 2023 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s message

Today, we pay tribute to the Veterans who have served our country, and we honour all those who have answered the call of duty. Their sacrifice is a debt that we can never repay. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s message

November 11, 2023Ottawa, Ontario

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on Remembrance Day:

“On November 11 of every year, we wear our red poppies and observe two minutes of silence to honour the brave members in uniform who risked everything to defend the values that we hold dear. We pay tribute to the women and men Veterans. When Canadians have fought during times of war and conflict, they’ve done so in defence of values like freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. Today, we recommit ourselves to promoting these values that guide us in our mission to create a better Canada and world.

“Remembrance Day is an opportunity to recognize members of the Canadian Armed Forces who have courageously answered the call of duty. When it was needed most, they left behind their families and homes. Many returned with severe trauma – or didn’t return at all. Their sacrifice is a debt that we can never repay.

“As we reflect on this debt, we are reminded that this day is not just about the past; it is about our present and our future. From the battlefields of the First and Second World Wars, to Korea and Afghanistan, and in peacekeeping operations, to the training grounds for Ukrainian soldiers, and here at home, responding to a global pandemic and to climate-related disasters, Canadian Armed Forces members continue to show unwavering resolve and bravery.

“Members of our Armed Forces have endured the horrors of war to defend our values. We owe it to them to stay true to our values and to never forget the sacrifices they have made to protect them. While we observe a moment of silence and lay wreaths at memorials across the country, we acknowledge the importance of teaching the lessons of history to the next generations. May they carry the torch of remembrance forward so that we can create a brighter world for all.

“Lest we forget.”

10 Quick Facts on… Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day was first observed in 1919 throughout the British Commonwealth. It was originally called “Armistice Day” to commemorate armistice agreement that ended the First World War on Monday, November 11, 1918, at 11 a.m.—on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

From 1921 to 1930, Armistice Day was held on the Monday of the week in which November 11 fell. In 1931, Alan Neill, Member of Parliament for Comox–Alberni, introduced a bill to observe Armistice Day only on November 11. Passed by the House of Commons, the bill also changed the name to “Remembrance Day”. The first Remembrance Day was observed on November 11, 1931.

Every year on November 11, Canadians pause in a moment of silence to honour and remember the men and women who have served, and continue to serve Canada during times of war, conflict and peace. We remember the more than 2,300,000 Canadians who have served throughout our nation’s history and the more than 118,000 who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The poppy is the symbol of Remembrance Day. Replica poppies are sold by the Royal Canadian Legion to provide assistance to Veterans.

Remembrance Day is a federal statutory holiday in Canada. It is also a statutory holiday in three territories (Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut) and in six provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador).

The national ceremony is held at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. The Governor General of Canada presides over the ceremony. It is also attended by the Prime Minister, other government officials, representatives of Veterans’ organizations, diplomatic representatives, other dignitaries, Veterans as well as the general public.

In advance of the ceremony, long columns of Veterans, Canadian Armed Forces members, RCMP officers, and cadets march to the memorial lead by a pipe band and a colour guard. At the end of the ceremony, they march away to officially close the ceremony.

Some of the 54 Commonwealth member states, such as Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia, observe the tradition of Remembrance Day on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Other nations observe a solemn day but at different dates. For example, ANZAC Day is observed in New Zealand on April 25. In South Africa, Poppy Day is marked on the Sunday that falls closest to November 11.

Many nations that are not members of the Commonwealth also observe Remembrance Day on November 11, including France, Belgium and Poland.

The United States used to commemorate Armistice Day on November 11. However, in 1954 they changed the name to Veterans Day.

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