Remembrance Day, which takes place every year on November 11, is always an important event — a solemn reminder of the countless sacrifices made by Canada’s men and women throughout our military history. This year, however holds special significance as November 11, 2018 marks 100 year since the armistice was signed, ending aggressions in the First World War.
This year at 5:00 p.m. on Remembrance Day, church bells in Cranbrook and across the country will toll 100 times, honouring each year since the end of that catastrophic war that forever changed Canada and the world. On November 11, 1918, church bells throughout Canada and Europe spontaneously began ringing as the war came to an end.
“It’s to draw attention of course to the soldiers, and airmen, naval and all forces that died and were wounded during World War 1,” said Padre Gordon Henry of the Legion Branch 24. “It’s an extra initiative I realize but I think something that’s very significant because it seems that the further we get away from that event it’s more and more difficult for people to remember just the incredible sacrifice that was made during that period.”
At least five churches in Cranbrook have already signed up to ring their bells, both Catholic churches, Christ Church Anglican, Knox Presbyterian and St. Aidan.
“It’s a way for church and community to be involved,” said Henry, “a time for people to stop and have a moment of silence, remember their lives.”
Well over 600,000 Canadians enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force through 1914 to 1918, with 424,000 of those serving overseas. Nearly 66,000 Canadians were killed and another 172,000 wounded over the course of the war. Although at the time no reliable method for tracking or treating psychological casualties existed, at least 9,000 Canadians were identified as suffering from “shell shock.”