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Remembrance Day

By Adele Lowen
- pull out the student's background knowledge by asking the students what they
know about Remembrance Day so they can make connections to the lesson
- discuss how Canada's national anthem and music has changed over the years by
watching the YouTube videos of:
*click on the links below
- God Save The Queen - This is the British National Anthem and we sing it in
Canada too. Many years ago, this song was sung daily at school and at public
gatherings like a hockey game.
- The Maple Leaf Forever - this video shows pictures of Canada's flag before
the maple leaf. History of the song by Wikipedia: Muir was said to have been inspired
to write this song by a large maple tree which stood on his street in front the Maple Cottage, a
house at Memory Lane and Laing Street in Toronto. The song became quite popular in English
Canada and for many years served as an unofficial national anthem.[2][3] Because of its strongly
British perspective it became unpopular amongst French Canadians, and this prevented it from
ever becoming an official anthem, even though it was seriously considered for that role and
was even used as a de facto anthem in many instances.[4]
The tree which inspired Muir's song was felled during a windstorm on the night of 19/20 July
2013.[5] Residents have expressed their hope that the city will be able to start a new tree from
one of the branches.
It has been asserted that Muir's words, however, while certainly pro-British, were not antiFrench, and he revised the lyrics of the first verse from "Here may it wave, our boast, our pride,
and join in love together / The Thistle, Shamrock, Rose entwine" to "/ The Lily, Thistle,
Shamrock, Rose, the Maple Leaf forever"; adding "Lily", a French symbol, to the list. According
to other accounts, this was actually the original wording. Muir was attempting to express that
under the Union Flag the British and French were united as Canadians.[2]
"The Maple Leaf Forever" is also the authorized regimental march of The Queen's Own Rifles of
Canada and The Royal Westminster Regiment.[4] Additionally, it is the Regimental Slow March
of the Fort Henry Guard.
The song makes reference to James Wolfe capturing Quebec in 1759 during the Seven Years'
War and the Battle of Queenston Heights and Battle of Lundy's Lane during the War of 1812.

- O'Canada - our national anthem today, this video shows pictures from all
across Canada. You could extend this by reading Our Canadian Flag by Maxine
Trottier and Brian Deines which talks about places the Canadian flag flies, some of
the symbolism associated with the flag, and some history about the flag.

O Canada Our National Anthem from Scholastic is another good book, that is
similar to the video, showing pictures from across Canada.
- Read A Poppy Is To Remember by Heather Patterson and Ron Lightburn from
Scholastic for background information and discuss:
- soldiers who fought and died in the wards
- poppies - why we have them, why in Canada we were plastic poppies
instead of real ones, what the donated money goes towards
- show images of poppies *click on the link below
- Canadians as soldiers to fight and as peacekeepers to help those in need
during a natural disaster
- One year after WWI ended, the first Armistice Day was held on the 11th
hour of the 11th day of the 11 month, 1919 with a minute of silence
marking the end of the war exactly one year before. In 1931, the
name was officially changed to Remembrance Day.
- Explain that during the Remembrance Day Ceremony, The Last Post song is
played for 1 min. of silence, on a bugle or a trumpet (brass family). During the 1
minute of silence people can think about things like the soldiers who have died in
the wars or how lucky we are to live in Canada where we do not have war in our
- watch YouTube videos of The Last Post *click on the links below
- Discuss that music played on the radio and by bands reflect what is happening in
the world at the moment. During the war times, the music was about the war.
- listen to popular music that could be heard on the radio or danced to at
the dance halls or community halls during World War 1
- Goodby France 1919 Irving Berlin
- Dear Old Pal Of Mine 1918 John McCormack
*click on the links below
- Explain that a 21 Gun Salute can be done at a soldier's funeral.
Wikipedia says:
A 21-gun salute is the most commonly recognized of the customary gun salutes that are
performed by the firing of cannons or artillery as a military honor.

The custom stems from naval tradition, where a warship would fire its cannons harmlessly out
to sea, until all ammunition was spent, to show that it was disarmed, signifying the lack of
hostile intent. As naval customs evolved, 21 guns came to be fired for heads of state, or in
exceptional circumstances for head of government, with the number decreasing with the rank
of the recipient of the honor.
While the 21-gun salute is the most commonly recognized, the number of rounds fired in any
given salute will vary depending on the conditions. Circumstances affecting these variations
include the particular occasion and, in the case of military and state funerals, the branch of
service, and rank (or office) of the person to whom honors are being rendered.
- during the 21 Gun Salute, sometimes music is played in the background

such as Amazing Grace *click on the links below

- discuss the Canadian soldiers who are at war today:
- Remembrance Day is just as relevant today due to the wars in the world
- many Canadian soldiers have been killed during the last few years
- today women have just as important roles in the military, air force, and
navy as men do
- watch YouTube videos (for Grades 3-9) showing images of the things discussed
above *click on the links below
Remembrance Day Soldier Cries - Global Edmonton
In The Name Of Freedom - Carolyn Dawn Johnson (2007) - Carolyn is a
country singer and song writer from the Grande Prairie area
- watch YouTube video (for Grades 1-9) *click on the link below
In Flanders Fields - Anthony Hutchcroft
- John McCrae, from Ontario, was a medical officer who helped the injured
soldiers in World War I.
Wikipedia says:
"In Flanders Fields" is a war poem in the form of a rondeau, written during the First World War
by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. He was inspired to write it on May 3,
1915, after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer, who died in
the Second Battle of Ypres. According to legend, fellow soldiers retrieved the poem after
McCrae, initially dissatisfied with his work, discarded it. "In Flanders Fields" was first published
on December 8 of that year in the London-based magazine Punch.

It is one of the most popular and most quoted poems from the war. As a result of its immediate
popularity, parts of the poem were used in propaganda efforts and appeals to recruit soldiers
and raise money selling war bonds. Its references to the red poppies that grew over the graves
of fallen soldiers resulted in the remembrance poppy becoming one of the world's most
recognized memorial symbols for soldiers who have died in conflict. The poem and poppy are
prominent Remembrance Day symbols throughout the Commonwealth of Nations, particularly
in Canada, where "In Flanders Fields" is one of the nation's best-known literary works. The
poem also has wide exposure in the United States, where it is associated with Memorial Day.

Wikipedia says:
John McCrae was a poet and physician from Guelph, Ontario. He developed an interest in
poetry at a young age and wrote throughout his life.[1] His earliest works were published in the
mid-1890s in Canadian magazines and newspapers.[2] McCrae's poetry often focused on death
and the peace that followed.[3]
At the age of 41, McCrae enrolled with the Canadian Expeditionary Force following the
outbreak of the First World War. He had the option of joining the medical corps because of his
training and age, but he volunteered instead to join a fighting unit as a gunner and medical
officer.[4] It was his second tour of duty in the Canadian military. He had previously fought with
a volunteer force in the Second Boer War.[5] He considered himself a soldier first; his father was
a military leader in Guelph and McCrae grew up believing in the duty of fighting for his country
and empire.[6]
McCrae fought in the second battle of Ypres in the Flanders region of Belgium where the
German army launched one of the first chemical attacks in the history of war. They attacked the
Canadian position with chlorine gas on April 22, 1915, but were unable to break through the
Canadian line, which held for over two weeks. In a letter written to his mother, McCrae
described the battle as a "nightmare": "For seventeen days and seventeen nights none of us
have had our clothes off, nor our boots even, except occasionally. In all that time while I was
awake, gunfire and rifle fire never ceased for sixty seconds.... And behind it all was the constant
background of the sights of the dead, the wounded, the maimed, and a terrible anxiety lest the
line should give way."[7] Alexis Helmer, a close friend, was killed during the battle on May 2.
McCrae performed the burial service himself, at which time he noted how poppies quickly grew
around the graves of those who died at Ypres. The next day, he composed the poem while
sitting in the back of an ambulance[8] at an Advanced Dressing Station outside Ypres. This
location is today known as the John McCrae Memorial Site.

- using choral speech skills, have a class recite In Flanders Field by John McCrae
Curriculum Concepts:
Expression: 3, 6, 16, 17 18
Listening: 5, 7, 8, 18, 21

Singing: 23, 26