- Canadian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The Canadian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located at the National War Memorial in Confederation Square,
Ottawa. The tomb was added to the war memorial in 2000, and holds the remains of an unidentified Canadian soldier who died in Franceduring World War I.
The body of the soldier was formerly buried in Plot 8, Row E, Grave 7, of the Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery in good morning
France, near the memorial at Vimy Ridge, the site of the first major battle where Canadian troops fought as a combined force. At the request of the Canadian government, the Commonwealth War Graves Commissionselected one of the 1,603 graves of unknown Canadians buried in the vicinity of Vimy Ridge. The remains of the soldier were exhumed on the morning of May 16, 2000, and the casket was flown in a Canadian Forcesaircraft to Ottawa on May 25, accompanied by an honour guard which included a chaplain, Royal Canadian Legionveterans, and representatives of Canadian youth. In Ottawa, the unknown soldier lay in state for three days.
On the afternoon of
May 28, the body of the unknown soldier was transported from Parliament Hillto the National War Memorial on a horse-drawn gun carriage provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police(RCMP). Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, her Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien, as well as veterans, Canadian Forces personnel, and members of the RCMP were in the funeral procession. Then, with appropriate ceremony, the body of the unknown soldier was re-interred in a sarcophagusin front of the War Memorial.
The tomb is 3.5 metres (12 ft) long, 2.5 metres (8 ft) wide and 1 metre (3 ft) high. It is built of Caledonia granite originally quarried in Rivière à Pierre,
Québec, with a bronze relief sculpture and four bronze corner pieces. The bronze work was designed by Canadian artist Mary-Ann Liuand cast in Roberts Creek, British Columbia. Both the tomb and sculpture reflect some of the themes and style of the Vimy Memorial, designed by Walter Seymour Allward.
At the former burial site of the unknown soldier, a grave marker similar to the other headstones in the Cabaret-Rouge Cemetery has been placed on the now-empty grave. The marker is inscribed with these words:
cquote2|quotetext=ANCIENNE SÉPULTURE D'UN
SOLDAT CANADIEN INCONNU
MORT AU COURS DE LA
PREMIÈRE GUERRE MONDIALE.
IL A ÉTÉ EXHUMÉ
LE 25 MAI 2000
ET IL REPOSE MAINTENANT AU
DE GUERRE DU CANADA
THE FORMER GRAVE OF AN
UNKNOWN CANADIAN SOLDIER
OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR.
HIS REMAINS WERE REMOVED
ON 25 MAY 2000 AND NOW
LIE INTERRED AT THE
NATIONAL WAR MEMORIAL
IN OTTAWA CANADA.Col-end
At the first
Remembrance Dayfollowing the tomb's installation, a new tradition was spontaneously formed as attendees placed their poppies on the tomb. This tradition, while not part of the official program, is widely practiced, with others leaving cut flowers, photographs, or letters to the deceased.
Canada Day 2006
Some, including Canadian veterans of the
Royal Canadian Legion, thought the site of the tomb deserved a military or police honour guard (similar in nature to the U.S. Army's "Old Guard" (3rd Infantry Regiment) at the Tomb of the Unknowns) as a symbol of respect and to protect it from vandalism and desecration. An incident on July 1, 2006brought these demands into sharp focus when Dr. Michael Pilon, a retired Canadian Forces major, photographed three young men urinating on the nearby War Memorial shortly after the annual Canada Dayfireworks show over nearby Parliament Hill.
In the summer of 2007, a pair of sentries was mounted by the
Ceremonial Guardin full dress uniform, from 9am to 5 pm.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Canadian National Vimy Memorial
Battle of Vimy Ridge
Military history of Canada
* [http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/general/sub.cfm?source=memorials/tomb Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Veterans Affairs Canada]
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