It might be hard to believe, but 2014 is the year that marks the centennial anniversary of the beginning of World War I.
As Canada’s first major foray into global military conflict, this became a significant marker in the country’s history, and its impact is still felt today in many, many ways.
While the debate around designating November 11 as a national statutory holiday sits before Parliament, some Calgary employers have already chosen to observe it, giving many of the city’s young professionals the day off.
Even if you’re not one of the lucky ones, your employer may be willing to allow a longer morning break to attend one of these ceremonies or public sites. So if you’re looking for a meaningful way to participate and remember, here are a few ideas as to how you can do it.
Central Memorial Park
If you’re stuck at work for the day, but can take some time to remember, your best bet is probably the beautiful park that sits between Second and Fourth Streets and 11th and 12th Avenues SW. Beginning at 10am, join the Calgary Highlanders Infantry Regiment at the cenotaph, a monument honouring service people in both World Wars. You’ll want to bundle up as the ceremony is completely outdoors.
SAIT Jubilee Auditorium
This is one of the more elaborate and popular events you’ll find in the city, as well as one of the few that keeps you indoors. That said, we recommend showing up before doors open at 9:30am to secure your seat, as the ceremony runs from 10:30am until approximately 12:15pm. Veterans and seniors will receive seating priority.
Field of Crosses
If you’ve driven down Memorial Drive lately, you’ve probably seen the sprawling field of white crosses placed there to serve as a site for family, friends, and grateful strangers to be reminded of the Southern Albertan lives lost in conflict over the past century.
A moving sunrise flag-raising ceremony will take place at approximately 7:30am, and a Remembrance Day service begins at 10:45am, but the area is open to the public at any time for reflection.
The Military Museums
Depending on your memory of high school history class, you may feel like many of us who could use a deeper look at the realities of Canada’s role in international conflicts. The Museums, which are located off of Crowchild Trail near Garrison Woods and Mount Royal University, will host a formal outdoor service at 10:30am, and offer free admission to the exhibits for the duration of the day until 5pm.
However you choose to observe 11/11, it’s never a bad thing to take a solemn moment to remember the sacrifices of those who have gone before us protecting this land we call home.
Photo from: istock.com/EdwardSamuelCornwall