Second World War veteran Ted Patrick looks on before the start of the Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Tuesday.

Second World War veteran Ted Patrick looks on before the start of the Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Tuesday.

National War Memorial rededicated

Tens of thousands of people surrounded the sunshine-bathed National War Memorial on Tuesday as Gov. Gen. David Johnston formally rededicated the monument in the name of all who have died in the service of Canada.

OTTAWA — Tens of thousands of people surrounded the sunshine-bathed National War Memorial on Tuesday as Gov. Gen. David Johnston formally rededicated the monument in the name of all who have died in the service of Canada.

Clad in full military uniform, Johnston was standing just steps away from the spot where Cpl. Nathan Cirillo gave his life just three weeks ago in an attack on Parliament Hill that has given this year’s Remembrance Day a laser-sharp currency.

Johnston said Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who was killed two days earlier in Quebec at the hands of man with jihadist sympathies, have joined the ranks of thousands of other dead, who will always be remembered.

“Freedom without peace is agony, and peace without freedom is slavery, and we will tolerate neither. This is the truth we owe our dead,” Johnston said.

He urged the crowd to look closely at the towering bronze statues of Peace and Freedom atop the monument, as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which sits at its base.

“We don’t know his name. He is our unknown soldier. In anonymity he honours all Canadians who died and may yet die for their country,” Johnston said.

“We will stand on guard for him and for them, as did Nathan Cirillo, who takes his place among them. We will strive for peace and for freedom, as did Patrice Vincent, who joins them also.”

There is a new inscription on the memorial’s granite wall — “In Service to Canada – Au service du Canada.” The dates of the Afghanistan mission and the South African War have also been added.

Princess Anne was on hand to deliver a message from the Queen, who said it is fitting to rededicate the monument to all Canadians who gave their lives in the service of peace, justice and freedom.

“’Seventy-five years ago, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth dedicated this National War Memorial in honour of all those who paid the supreme sacrifice in the Great War,” the Princess Royal said on the Queen’s behalf.

“Today, it is fitting that with this ceremony of rededication, we pay tribute to all those Canadians who in the intervening years have laid down their lives in the service of peace, justice and freedom.”’

Johnston spoke of the terrible death toll of the First World War, then called the Great War, and the promises made to remember the dead. He said Canadians refused to forget after the Great War.

“We noted the names and recorded them in books and engraved them on walls in the hope that we would ever protect them against anonymity,” he said.

“Today we stand as one, in silent tribute, not only to keep the vow made long ago but also to rededicate this symbol of that promise.”

As a consequence of the Oct. 22 attack on Parliament Hill — Cirillo’s killer, Michael Zehaf Bibeau, was himself gunned down in a shootout minutes later in the halls of Parliament’s Centre Block — security was visibly heightened for this year’s ceremony in Ottawa.

Gun-toting security personnel could be seen on nearby rooftops, and a heavily armed security detail was visible outside the entrances to nearby Langevin Block, which houses the Prime Minister’s Office.

As the morning unfolded, ceremonies were taking place across the country, including in Halifax’s Grand Parade Square, where hundreds — including NDP Leader Tom Mulcair — assembled for the service.

A cannon shot rang out from Citadel Hill above the cenotaph as a bugler sounded the Last Post.

In Hamilton, Ont., Cirillo’s hometown, hundreds packed a downtown square for Remembrance Day ceremonies where the young soldier’s legacy wasn’t far from people’s minds.

Dennis Floresco, a retired fellow member of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, to which Cirillo belonged, says he was one of the last people to send the reservist off to Ottawa.

Floresco said Remembrance Day is about standing tall for all branches of the Armed Forces and acknowledging the sacrifices soldiers have made going back hundreds of years.

In Ottawa, huge crowds were on hand. No official police estimates were immediately available, but one officer, a veteran of Remembrance Day ceremonies past, pegged the size of the crowd at more than 30,000 people.

The Royal Canadian Legion predicted attendance of as many as 80,000. It said poppy sales have jumped this year to more than 19 million compared with 18 million last year.

In addition to the recent attacks on Canadian soil, 2014 also marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, as well as the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War.

All the while, Canadian fighter pilots are flying in harm’s way over Iraq.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was also on hand, having flown halfway around the world from Beijing for the ceremony, after which he’ll resume his travels almost immediately, bound for New Zealand.

Senior officers and politicians were also there, along with Gisele Michaud, the Silver Cross Mother, whose youngest son, Master Cpl. Charles-Philippe Michaud, died of injuries suffered in Afghanistan in 2009.

The diplomatic corps was out in force, along with various veterans groups and young people’s organizations.

The commemoration included the familiar rituals of the piper’s lament, the Last Post, the artillery salute and the recitation of the Act of Remembrance taken from Laurence Binyon’s poem, “For the Fallen.”

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old …”

Tuesday marked the second time the memorial has been rededicated. In May 1982, the dates of the Second World War and the Korean War were added.

Princess Anne paid tribute to Cirillo and Vincent shortly after her arrival in Ottawa on Monday. Her grandfather first dedicated the monument in 1939, just months before the Second World War began.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rocky Mountain House RCMP are investigating a fatal collision involving a pedestrian on Feb. 27. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Rocky Mountain House RCMP investigate fatal pedestrian collision

Collision occured west of Rocky on Highway 11A

A cross-country skier glides along the banks of the Ottawa River in Ottawa on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Canadians across the country can look forward to a mild spring peppered with the odd winter flashback throughout the first part of the season, according to predictions from one prominent national forecaster. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Mild spring with some wintry blasts predicted for most of Canada: Weather Network

March will be dramatically warmer through the prairies

Bharat Masrani, CEO, TD Bank Group speaks at the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto on Wednesday, November 1, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

Shares in metals and mining companies have rebounded sharply

A worker carrying a disinfectant sprayer walks past a WestJet Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft, after cleaning another plane at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday, January 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
WestJet to lay off undisclosed number of pilots amid labour negotiations

Layoff notices to go out ahead of the expiration of a memorandum of agreement

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Feds hoping for AstraZeneca shots this week as Pfizer-BioNTech prepare next delivery

Canada has ordered 24 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine

Red Deer dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

A ” Justice for Jeff” T-shirt. (Photo submitted)
Rally to be held outside Red Deer courthouse for slain Ponoka man

Sentencing for accused charged with manslaughter with a firearm set for March 4

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson makes a shot against Team Alberta as second Shannon Birchard, right, and lead Briane Meilleur sweep in the semi-final at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Kerri Einarson wins second straight Canadian women’s curling championship

Einarson and her teammates celebrated Sunday in the silence in an empty arena

Amy Poehler and Tina Fey hosted the Golden Globes on Feb. 28, 2021. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
With loved ones and pets, Globes winners embrace cozier show

Nicole Kidman and musician-husband Keith Urban got glammed up to sit on their couch

The cast of “Schitt’s Creek” pose for a photo after winning the Award for Best Comedy Series at the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto on March 31, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Schitt’s Creek nabs two Golden Globes for its final season

Catherine O’Hara named best television actress in a musical or comedy

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is condemning alleged vandalism at the… Continue reading

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Machin waits to appear at the Standing Committee on Finance on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Executives who engage in so-called "vaccine tourism" show both an ethical disregard for those less fortunate and a surprising lack of business acumen, experts argue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine tourism is both unethical and bad for business, experts say

Executives who engage in so-called “vaccine tourism” show both an ethical disregard… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Jesse Puljujarvi (13) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Justin Holl (3) battle in front as goalie Jack Campbell (36) makes the save during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, February 27, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
No Matthews, no problem: Minus NHL goal leader, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 4-0

Leafs 4 Oilers 0 EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs knew even with… Continue reading

Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Pablo Rodriguez rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Gummed-up bills in House of Commons: harbinger of a federal election?

OTTAWA — All federal party leaders maintain they don’t want an election… Continue reading

Most Read