Veterans, family members, senior politicians and officials are gathering in Ottawa this Saturday to mark Remembrance Day.
A ceremony organized by the Royal Canadian Legion unfolded on a cloudy morning in the national capital, calling on Canadians to reflect on this country’s involvement in conflicts throughout its history, and the people who have served in the armed forces.
The ceremony featured several veterans of some of the Canadian military’s most substantial deployments, including the Second World War and the Korean War.
There are only just over 9,000 veterans of the Second World War and Korean War left in Canada, according to Veterans Canada.
“We’re losing our eyewitnesses to history, those who saw and served,” said Tim Cook, historian and director of research at the Canadian War Museum. “Every story is different, and it’s important to gather those stories, to let veterans talk and to share their experiences.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Gov. Gen. Mary Simon were present at the ceremony, along with several other senior politicians.
Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre, Canada’s top soldier, told CBC News ahead of the ceremony that it was important to reflect on Canada’s past, adding that he is also concerned about Canada’s present security.
“The study of our military history could almost be considered a study in unpreparedness,” he said. “I am very concerned as I see the deteriorating security situation around the world.”
“We see the challenges that are out there, we see them coming, we have to be ready. We have to ensure that we can respond to this very uncertain and insecure world.”