When Britain declared war on Germany in 1914, it was expected that Canada, as a member of the British Empire, would be involved. Canadians of British descent supported this belief and argued that Canadians had a duty to fight on behalf of Britain. Over the 4-year period of this war, 620,000 people were mobilized, of which 67,000 were casualties with an additional 173,000 wounded. Canada’s sacrifices and contributions will forever be memorialized at Yypres, Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, and the Somme, amongst others. Many view World War I and, in particular, the Battle of Vimy Ridge, as marking the “birth of a nation” and Canada’s independence.
Remembrance Day is observed on November 11th each year to recall the end of hostilities of World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, with the German signing of the Armistice. The red remembrance poppy has become a symbol of Remembrance Day. The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing is in Ypres, and each year on November 11th war veterans from many countries return to Ypres to participate in Remembrance Day ceremonies. Its walls hold the names of nearly 55,000 soldiers who were never found, and each evening at 20.00, in an expression of gratitude, the road beneath the memorial is closed and the Last Post is sounded. By the end of this important mandatory trip, NJC students have a much greater appreciation for this epoque in world history and Canada's integral role.