Remembrance Day marks cost of wars past and present

Since this time last year, 36 more Canadian soldiers have been killed in the war in Afghanistan.

That was part of Toronto Mayor David Miller’s speech at today’s Remembrance Day ceremony at Old City Hall, which also featured a speech from the Honourable Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, David C. Onley. Thousands of people packed the intersection of Queen and Bay streets around the cenotaph for the observance.

While all wars and veterans were being memorialized, there was a significant focus on the current Afghan war. Those who gathered at the ceremony were reminded that regardless of their religion or politics, it is vital they support the Canadian troops currently overseas.

Miller acknowledged this sentiment when he made reference to what he called a noticeable change in Remembrance Day over the past few years. He associated the change with the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, which has claimed the lives of 130 Canadian soldiers thus far.

In the First World War, Canada lost 66,665 soldiers, while the Second World War took 46,998 more, then another 516 in Korea.  In total, Canada has lost just short of 115,000 soldiers in war.

While there are many surviving veterans of the three more recent wars, Canada has a lone soldier still living who was part of the First World War. John Babcock, who lives in Spokane, Washington, is 109 years old – the eldest of the three remaining veterans worldwide.