A service held outside of Toronto’s Old City Hall Sunday honoured those who dedicated their lives to serving the country, and this year’s ceremony paid special tribute to the 100 year anniversary of Armistice Day, when the armistice that ended the First World War was signed on November 11, 1918.
Jean Dell’Agnese has been attending Remembrance Day services since she was a teenager, and each year she says thinks about her grandfather, who died in the First World War.
“He died in May on 1918,” she said.
“He’s buried in northern France, in one of the Commonwealth cemeteries. He fought for the Scottish Rifles and he was in the war for four years. My father was two years old when he passed. He was injured in the trenches, because of the trench warfare that was going on at that time.”
“It’s the 100 anniversary of the Armistice,” said Col. Daniel Stepaniuk. “We call it Remembrance Day, but when it was created, it was known as Armistice Day.”
“It was called the Great War, but not because of its greatness but because of the tremendous loss of life and the tremendous amount of suffering of people.”
Addressing the service, Mayor John Tory said he’s thought about Canada’s role in the First World War and the number of those involved or affected 100 years ago.
“I hope that gives people — including me — a sense of the sacrifice and what it was about, too, because it wasn’t just about going to war,” he added. “It was about creating the freedoms we have today.”
WATCH: Toronto Remembrance Day service pays tribute to 100th anniversary of armistice that ended WWI
During Sunday’s service, “In Flanders Fields,” written during the First World War by Canadian physician Lt. Col. John McCrae, was read to the crowd, followed by the laying of wreaths at the base of the cenotaph.
Stepaniuk said he was moved to see the number of people who attended the service.
“I’m proud. I’m a proud Canadian and I was impressed by the number of Canadians who take the time to come out and to honour the service of those who have fallen in the service of their country,” he said.
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