Remembrance Day 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of Canada’s Hundred Days and the Armistice. The Hundred Days, August 4, 1914 to November 11, 1918, was the final allied offensive of the First World War, culminating in the Armistice on November 11.
During the Hundred Days the Canadian contingent of the allied forces, more than 100,000 strong, advanced 130 kilometers and played a vital role in breaching the Hindenburg Line. Casualties were horrific. During this offensive alone, over 6,800 Canadian soldiers died and 39,000 were wounded. Following the action, twenty-nine Canadians and one Newfoundlander received the Victoria Cross (VC), the highest award for military valour that service members can earn. This represents nearly one-third of all VC’s received in Canadian history.
Canada emerged from the First World War as a more mature nation with a heightened international status while at the same time it grieved the deaths of close to 61,000. This “war to end all wars” was followed by the 2nd World War, the Korean War and military missions in the Middle East, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria and many other war-torn locations.
On November 11, 2018, Canadians will pause for a moment of silent remembrance and gratitude for the men and women, past and present, who serve and defend our country. We remember our own friends and family who served in past wars or who today make personal sacrifices as they serve in the Canadian armed forces in crisis zones around the world. Whether an action is called a war or a peace keeping operation, the danger to Canadian military personnel remains real. Whether armed forces are deployed for active combat, support of NATO allied forces, or in defense of humanitarian agencies, they are away from their families and in harm’s way.
On November 11, we remember them.