On Remembrance Day, services were held around the city, and this year marked the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War.
Originally called “Armistice Day,” Remembrance Day was first held in 1919 one year after the First World War to remember the day and time it ended. The name changed to “Remembrance Day” in 1931 when Parliament Member Alan Neill proposed a bill to have the day always be observed on Nov. 11. After over 100 years, it is now a day to remember service members in all armed conflicts Canadians have fought in.
In Toronto, a service was held at the East York Civic Centre with family, service members, scouts, cadets and veterans in a circle around the Memorial Gardens. A parade of active and former service members marched into the Memorial Gardens where four soldiers stood in silence at the four corners of the memorial statue.
The focus of this year’s services was the 70 year anniversary of the Korean War. The war took place in the early 1950s and was the setting for the television show M*A*S*H. On behalf of the city, Coun. Paula Fletcher was in attendance with some words about the Korean War.
“We pay special tribute to those who fought in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953, which ended 70 years ago,” says Fletcher. “Nearly 27,000 Canadian men and women were deployed by air, land and sea to serve in Korea. As Canada joined the UN Command that included 32 other countries. The Korean War was for a long time thought of as the Forgotten War. Sadly, this cold and brutal conflict claimed the lives of 516 Canadians with at least 38 of them having a connection to Toronto.”
After Fletcher’s speech, wreaths were placed on the monument in the garden by the local legions and service members. Over 30 wreaths were stacked upon the monument while music played. Once all of the wreaths were placed each group marched out and the crowds dispersed.
“They were young as we are young, they served, giving freely of themselves. To them we pledge amid the winds of time to carry their torch and never forget. We will remember them,” a Royal Canadian Sea Cadet said to the crowd.
Listen to the story below: