Armistice 100: A Tribute

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the First World War.

Imagine sitting in a trench, leaning against one of the dirt walls. You breathe in the musty scent of fresh earth. There’s other scents in the air – scents less pleasant. You focus in on the earth. It grounds you, reminds you of the soil back home, the country you are fighting for.

The rain begins to plummet from the sky. You are soon soaking wet, shivering; beneath your feet, the bottom of the trench is turning to mud. You’re cold and tired. There is no fire for warmth, no extra blankets to drape over your shoulders. You feel the cold seep in through your boots, chilling your feet, going straight into your bones. Your whole body is vulnerable. Yet, despite it all, you continue to defend your country, your freedom and the future of your loved ones.

Finally, after four years of fighting, the armistice ending the Great War is signed on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11 a.m. in 1918.

Front page of the November 11, 1918 edition of the Edmonton Journal. The Armistice was signed at 11 a.m. marking the end of hostilities during WWI.
Front page of the November 11, 1918 edition of the Edmonton Journal. The Armistice was signed at 11 a.m. marking the end of hostilities during WWI.

The war claimed the lives of more than 60,000 Canadians. In Alberta, 6,140 of the more than 48,800 who enlisted, were killed in action and approximately 20,000 were wounded.

Canada held its first Remembrance Day on November 11, 1931. Ever since, ceremonies have been held at cenotaphs across the country involving speeches, stories, a moment of silence, and the traditional military bugle calls of Last Post and Reveille.

These ceremonies offer all of us the opportunity to remember the fallen soldiers and reflect on their sacrifices for our freedom today.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice, a tribute has been planned for Edmontonians to commemorate and celebrate this historical moment in our history.

Armistice Tribute Ceremony

Alberta Legislature, Capital Plaza

21 Gun Salute: 11 a.m.

Exhibits & Events: 12:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Formal Ceremony: 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.

This free, event will feature:

  • A WWI Tribute ceremony featuring The Loyal Edmonton Regiment
  • WWI soldier interpreters who will share stories of the Great War and their homecoming
  • The Lord Strathcona Regiment Horses and Corral
  • Military tanks
  • Piling of Drums
  • The John McCrae Poppy Labyrinth – attendees can leave a message for the next 100 years
  • The Menin Gate (re-imagined)
  • An opportunity for attendees to share their family’s WWI stories at the WWI Memory Wall
  • Exhibits at the Legislative Assembly Visitor Centre plaza and pavilion
  • Rebecca Lappa – singing her song “Valiant of Vimy” which earned the top prize in the Spirit of Vimy Contest

“It’s been a huge community effort to bring this armistice tribute to fruition,” says Kaetlyn Corbould, Military and Protocol Liaison with the City of Edmonton Protocol Office.

Keep an ear open for the Bells of Armistice, as they are rung throughout Alberta.

“No matter the time period or the battle, we should never forget,” reminds Kaetlyn.

A Remembrance Day ceremony will be held at City Hall to honour the achievements and sacrifices of those who served our country in times of war and peace. The service will be lead by the Commanding Officer of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment. His Worship, Mayor Don Iveson will be in attendance.

Date: Sunday November 11, 2018
Time: 10:15 – 11:30 a.m.
Location: Edmonton City Hall, #1 Sir Winston Churchill Square

For information about other Remembrance Day events in your area visit the Veterans Affairs Canada website.