Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Tribute To The Fallen

Centre Block on Parliament Hill had snow falling a couple of evenings before Remembrance Day, the evening I took this shot. During the nights leading up to and including Remembrance Day, projections of falling poppies are shone onto the surface of the building from dusk until late in the evening.

This was my first photograph taken on Remembrance Day. I was in the area of the War Memorial earlier than usual, and people were already starting to gather. I noted the glass lantern of the National Arts Centre, which has technology embedded into the glass to allow for the projection of images throughout the year. On Remembrance Day it was poppies falling, already in the morning. Tomorrow I'll show you this by night, but for whatever reason, the poppies seemed to come out better with the camera with this daytime shot.

The National War Memorial is across from the NAC, in the heart of what is called Confederation Square. Inaugurated in 1939 by King George VI a few months before the outset of the Second World War, it was first meant to honour veterans of the First World War. It has been rededicated to honour those who have fallen and those who have served in all Canadian conflicts and in service since then, and it is the site of the national service on November 11th. I took my usual spot for the occasion, on the traffic island on the closed Wellington Street, north of the Memorial grounds. The veterans gathered here beforehand, along with a mixed group of military pipers and drummers. The main body of active servicemen and women, as well as cadets, were off to the south of the Memorial before the service. The musicians led the veterans past onlookers.

The service is coordinated with the military, the government Veterans Affairs ministry, the Legion, and other organizations. An active military servicewoman was the MC this year, and prayers were offered by a military chaplain- in both cases done in English and French. Traditions include the playing of the Last Post, piper's laments, music by a children's choir and military bands, the placing of wreaths both by dignitaries including the governor general and the Silver Cross Mother (a tradition going back decades with a selected mother of a deceased serviceman) and by organizations and diplomatic groups. A 21 gun salute from field artillery set up on Parliament Hill and a flypass of fighter jets are also included, as are two minutes of silence at eleven in the morning. A benediction by a chaplain (in this case, an Ottawa area rabbi who has the right touch with these occasions) concludes the service. Then the march commences off the grounds, with the pipers and drummers leading the veterans past the governor general, whose duties include the status as a ceremonial commander in chief of the military. By this point in the morning, the sun was not being the photographer's friend.

Cadets from the Royal Military College in Kingston follow, with members of each service branch following them.

The marchers include the members of the Ceremonial Guard, the soldiers who are here during the summer conducting the changing of the guard ceremony on Parliament Hill each day. This time of year they're dressed for the weather in these dark coats.

The Mounties are included in the march, with a select number of them in the midst of it. After them come a number of younger cadets, of the sort who attend after school cadets programs. Many people came out for this year's event. Tomorrow I'll show you the Memorial by night when I came back for some final shots for the day.


  1. William - an appropriate remembrance for the centenary. And I think the sun rays ADD to the photos. I have a soft spot for bagpipes - wish I could have been there. Thanks for your recent visit to my blog - come again!

  2. Those sunrays sure speak their own language.
    Well taken.

  3. We had a lot of celebrations going on too in Belgium of course ! I think it would be better to stop all wars then commemorations wouldn't be necessary ! There are still wars going on. Nobody has learned something !

  4. É muito importante comemorar e homenagear estas datas para que a história não se repita.
    Um abraço e continuação de uma boa semana.

    Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa
    O prazer dos livros

  5. That projection is really dramatic with the poppies. And the sun flare shots are dramatic.


  6. Nicely done. The photos are poignant with the sun! It's a ceremony usually done well by many.
    We stayed home. "News and film at 11!" You'll see why tomorrow.

  7. i love the light moments, great shots. i am wondering about your weather? is it cold? any snow yet? ( ;

  8. Such a very important ceremony on Remembrance Day. I love the idea of poppies projected onto the Parliament Buildings.

  9. The lighting on the Parliament buildings is beautiful and I love the poppy reflections!

  10. @Angie: you're welcome.

    @Iris: they do!

    @Joan: I think so.

    @Gattina: and yet we must remember.

    @Francisco: thank you.

    @Tom: indeed.

    @Janis: thanks!

    @Maywyn: I agree.

    @Anvilcloud: it was too late to move about twenty metres west. I think I was further west last year along this stretch of the street, because last year's shots were in the shadow of the buildings.

    @Jennifer: thank you.

    @Marie: thanks!

    @Beth: it's cold, and yes, we have snow on the ground. Last night apparently went down to -18C.

    @Shammickite: it's a good concept.

    @Jeanie: I do too.

  11. I think the sun gave a special touch on your photos for the special event!

  12. I also love the light on the marchers. It adds a special feeling to the event. I love the falling poppies in the building design. I hope you will share other events reflected in the building. :-)

  13. The sun actually enhances the effect of these pics, William.

  14. Very impressive ceremony. You're very patient to remain and get as many good photos as possible.

  15. I've come to the conclusion that nobody does these remembrance services better than you Canadians. Love the sun rays, too. Thanks for sharing, William. When I was in the Navy I was, for a brief time, a member of a color guard, and we'd march with our flags, etc., at events such as this one. About all I remember was how cold it was to do that in Minnesota in the winter!

  16. @Tamago: thank you.

    @DJan: periodically I photograph the lantern, especially at night. For the most part it doesn't light up until around sundown, and usually it's a mix of abstract colours, photos from across the country, or items from within the NAC itself.

    @Sandi: it was quite a ceremony.

    @RedPat: that's a common opinion on today's post!

    @Red: I stay until the end, and I knew what I wanted for the post itself. I was there for more than an hour and a half.

    @Sharon: thanks, so do I!

    @Lowell: I think it helps that the emphasis of the day is on commemoration as opposed to celebration.

  17. Wonderful photos of a momentous day:)

  18. Nice! The sun flares give the photos something extra.

  19. Beautiful photos of the tribute. The first photo is awesome!

  20. I like the light in your photos, they inspire hope.

  21. Lovely series of photos for Remembrance Day ~ Love the bagpipers! ^_^

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  22. @Rosie: thanks!

    @Jan: it seems my readers went for the sun flares that I found a bit off putting!

    @Bill: thanks! I'm wondering what the Peace Tower will look like next year with the work being done.

    @Tammie: thank you.

    @Carol: who doesn't love bagpipes?

  23. Wonderful tributes and I like the sun flares too! The first photo taken at night is my favorite though.

  24. Memorials like this call for some sun spots.

  25. I agree with Kay above, the sunbursts add such a special feel to these amazing images William, looks like a crisp day.. love to see the marches!

  26. What a marvellous tribute, I loved your first photograph, but all of the others are excellent, the sun rays (flares) just add to the feel of the day.
    Well done William, and thank you.

    All the best Jan