Canadian History for Kids!
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One and Canadian History for Kids have assembled 31 remarkable stories about incredible people, places and events which helped shape our amazing nation.
There are many significant stories to be told about the ‘war to end all wars’. And this is a story of , ‘better late, than never’. In fact a 2004 poll opened for Canadians to nominate their choice for the man or woman they felt was the best Canadian in history, listed this unknown person as #21.
The Unknown Soldier.
There are close to 25,000 Canadian soldiers who died in World War 1 who have remained unidentified. Their gravestones are engraved with the words “A Canadian Soldier of the Great War – known unto God”.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was first thought of by Britain and France in 1920 and a tomb was created at Westminster Abbey in Britain and in the Arch of Triumph in France.
In Canada, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was created, in the year 2000, to honour all Canadians soldiers whether navy, army, air force or merchant marine, and soldier who had died or may die for their country in all past and future conflicts.
In May 2000, Canada’s Unknown Soldier was exhumed from his resting place in the Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery in Souchez France, near the memorial at Vimy Ridge. The Common War Graves Commission selected him from the 1,603 graves of unknown Canadians. The coffin was flown to Ottawa in a Canadian Forces aircraft and accompanied by a guard of honour, a chaplain and Royal Canadian Legion veterans, where it lay in state for three days on Parliament Hill.
The body was then moved to the National War Memorial on Confederation Square by a horse-drawn gun carriage and re-interred, with the appropriate ceremony, in a sarcophagus in front of the War Memorial. The three-tiered
Caledonia granite sarcophagus is patterned after the Vimy Ridge memorial, and the bronze relief sculpture which sits on top of the sarcophagus also has a medieval sword, a helmet, and branches of maple and laurel leaves just like the Vimy altar. The corners of the sarcophagus have three bronze Memorial Crosses and on the fourth corner a bronze poppy. Mary-Ann Liu of Mission, British Columbia created the bronze relief sculpture.
Meanwhile, a grave marker similar to the other headstones in the Cabaret-Rouge Cemetery, was placed on the now empty grave and the marker was inscribed with the words “The former grave of an Unknown Soldier of the First World War. His remains were removed on 25 May 2000 and now lie interred at the National War Memorial in Ottawa Canada”.
The National War Memorial was unveiled in 1939. The Response, 22 bronze figures on the monument move through the arch representing the men who went to war. There is winged angel on top of the monument which represents peace and liberty.
Each year on Remembrance Day, November 11, thousands of people gather on Confederation Square to what the Veterans march and the wreath laying ceremonies. There is also two minutes of silence in respect for those who died.
Lest We Forget, a Canadian History for Kids, exclusive!