Remembrance Day in Ottawa was cold and partly cloudy, and I went down to attend the national service at the National War Memorial. This event draws a big crowd each year, and my chosen area would be at the northwest side of Confederation Square, of which the Memorial is the very heart of. The Memorial honours the dead of Canada's wars and military service, as well as its veterans, and the national service is a mournful, emotional one. I took this shot before the ceremony, as the sounds of active service units off to the south getting in place filled the air.
A contingent of pipes and drums leads the way in for the veterans, along with flags carried by veterans, active service, and cadets.
And the veterans themselves are seen here, a mix of old soldiers and more recent ones. We see less and less World War Two veterans who can make the march, but now we start seeing young men and women, and these are the veterans of the Afghan War. The ceremony includes prayers, readings of familiar prose in English, French, and a chosen Indigenous language, music, and the 21 gun salute by field guns staged out of sight on Parliament Hill. As always, it's the sound of the lone piper and the trumpeter in turn that I find affects me the strongest.
Large video screens are strategically set up. This one is on the Hill. The official party places wreaths first, and here we see the Governor-General, Mary Simon, the official representative of the Crown doing so. She is the first indigenous Governor-General, and in my opinion, a well chosen one. I saw her at an event several weeks before this.
As the wreaths continue to get placed, by everyone from government ministries to embassies to organizations, they really accumulate.
After the benediction by a military chaplain, the official party moves to the north side of the property for the march past. The pipes and drummers lead the way- a mix of units and military service branches.
The flag bearers follow them.
And then it is the veterans. It has become over the years the tradition of a respectful applause from the crowds as they march past. These are the ones who have given so much. Some of the faces are old and of the Second World War and Korean War era. Others are the faces that have served in peacekeeping missions and Cold War duties. And some are Afghan veterans.
They are followed by more active units from each of the military services, as well as Mounties and cadets.
The distinctive caps and capes of this unit caught my eye.
Here we see Navy servicemen and women.
It's Army here.
Followed by Air Force.
My last shot taken of the day.