Ypres, Belgium – Lest We Forget (In lieu of Fantasy Friday)

Canada 1914 – 1918

Remembering my Belgian heritage and my relatives that have been touched by war.

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During the years of WWI Canadians were stationed and fought in the area surrounding Ypres. Thousands of Canadian graves are located in the cemeteries in the surrounding fields and villages. At the centre of Ypres stands the Menin Gate. The names of 54,896 soldiers whose bodies were never found are cut in the stone of the Menin Gate – 6,940 of those names are Canadian.

Hooge Crater Cemetery as reconstructed by Commonwealth War Graves Commission. It contains 5,923 graves of which 3,579 are for unknown soldiers.

Wonderful Remembrance Day events are happening around the world today.

Cities across Canada are participating in a vigil with participating schools, which will name each individual who lost their lives in WWI.

The site Canada 1914 – 1918 Ypres explains what will happen, and what schools are involved.

The Vigil  Welcome to the National Schools vigil. This remembrance project will individually witness the names of the 68,000

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Canadians who lost their lives in WWI. For over 91 years Remembrance Day has been done in the name of the collective. Following the recent death of the last Canadian veteran from WWI it is fitting that we take seven days to remember their names one at a time. From the letters and journals of those who died in WWI we know that a recurring fear was that they might be forgotten. Students across Canada will therefore respond with a vigil this November that names each and every one of them one by one. Memory is part of what makes us human.

The Schools More than 150 schools are participating in this remembrance project. They are from every part of the country; from Cambridge Bay to Toronto and from Labrador City to Victoria. The students in these schools will project the names for seven consecutive days and evenings. The first of the 68,000 names will appear November 4th in each school. Each day’s vigil will be 13 hours long. The seventh and final day of the vigil will be November 10th. The last of the 68,000 names will appear either late in the evening of November 10th or the early hours of November 11th depending on which province the school is in. To read through a listing of all participating schools, please use the Schools tab located at the top of this page.

The Names Each name will appear at exactly the same moment in each school in Canada and in Belgium. 9,700 names will be witnessed each day of the vigil. They will appear one by one simultaneously across the country. Each name will be seen for 25 seconds. Each individual name will be seen only once during the seven days. On the quarter hours throughout the vigil the names will briefly pause and a photograph of one of the 3,400 cemeteries in Belgium and France where the Canadians are buried will be projected.

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The names of the dead include those killed in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, the Canadian Merchant Navy and the Canadian Army Medical Corps. The names reflect all the voices of Canada: anglophone, francophone, First Nations and the voices of recent immigrants from so many lands. Among the 68,000 are the names of 67 women.

Searching The Names It is important that the vigil be a personal moment for families who lost a relative in WWI. Therefore to find the exact day and time when a specific name will appear, use the Search Names tab located at the top of this page. Knowing the day, hour and minute when a particular name can be witnessed will allow families to either visit a participating school in Canada or log on to this site to see the appearance of their veteran’s name. The names appearing in the seven days of the vigil will have no order or ranking. Each man or woman was equal in death.

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