Tomorrow (November 11) is Remembrance Day.
Of course, that happens every November 11th, but Remembrance Day 2018 is very special. It marks 100 years to the day when the guns fell silent at the end of the first World War. Even though at the start of the "war to end all wars" Canada was 47 years old, many historians believe the war, and our place in it, marked Canada's true beginning as a nation. The President of Airdrie Branch # 288 of the Royal Canadian Legion Bill Drummond agrees the war thrust Canada into history.
"It defined Canada as a country. It became a fighting force that had to be reckoned with throughout the world," says Drummond. Battles like Passchendaele, Ypres and Vimy Ridge, although they were all fought in distant lands, brought Canada and Canadians together.
"The Canadian regiments fought together for the first time as a combined unit. In fact, in the Battle of Vimy Ridge, they took more prisoners and more land in 24 hours during the battle than any other force had ever done in the four years prior to that."
One of the most moving memorials in Airdrie this year are the 158 white crosses that are erected beside the Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) outside of the Nose Creek Valley Museum. The memorial was the dream of Legion member Dianne Kuhn who enlisted the help of McKee Homes and the Building Futures program students in Airdrie to get the crosses built.
Drummond says the tribute to soldiers who fought in Afghanistan is a fitting one. "You'll find that war memorials across the country, in fact across the world, are basically emphasizing the First World War and the Second World. Well, the LAV that's placed in front of Nose Creek Museum has a plaque behind it with 158 names on it. 152 soldiers and six civilians who were killed in Afghanistan. Diane Kuhn came up with the idea of the crosses two years ago but found it was overwhelming her. She got involved with the school kids and they were the ones who made the 158 crosses and Dianne made a name plaque with a photograph, a name, a date of when they were killed and how they were killed for every one of these crosses."
Drummond hopes many young people come to tomorrow's Remembrance Days services. He has a very good reason for wanting them there.
"Since the world began, people have been fighting. As far as I'm concerned, the Canadian, the British troops and the Allies have contributed, and hopefully, have added to keeping peace in the world. If we don't instruct children and younger people and tell them where we went wrong, they might make the same mistakes again, and God forbid we have another world war."
Doors open for tomorrow's service at Genesis Place at 8:45 am. The service begins at 10:00 am Two minutes of silence will go at precisely 11:00 am when the guns fell silent in World War One. Following that the Colour Party will make it's way to the cenotaph behind the Town and Country Centre to lay a wreath in memory of the Unknown Soldier.
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