Remembering Our Heroes
Exactly one year after the signing of the armistice in 1919 November 11 at 11 a.m., tributes around the world are made to war heroes. Verdun, too, also participated. This tradition has been repeated every year since, and at that precise time, people stop what they are doing to observe two minutes of silence. Throughout the 20th century, numerous events, parades and religious services have been organized in Verdun to mark Remembrance Day. It is important to the people of Verdun to pay tribute to the soldiers who have died. Since 1945, the commemorations also include the heroes of the Second World War.
A number of Verdunites participated in the Second Battle of Ypres, which was the first major battle involving Canadian soldiers. Residents from Verdun fought in Belgium from April to May 1915. Starting in 1920, the Great War Veterans’ Association (Verdun Legion as of 1925) organized an Ypres Day parade in April. It is the only major celebration of this battle in the country!
In 1924, Verdun erected the Victory Memorial, paying tribute to the combatants of the First World War. Initially located on Wellington Street and Mularkey Boulevard (now LaSalle Boulevard), it was moved in 1959. Today it graces Parc du Souvenir, located in front of City Hall. This remembrance and gathering site is now dedicated to all Verdunites who participated in the two world wars and in the Korean War (1950-1953).
Since 1925, the Canadian Royal Legion has officially led the Poppy Campaign. The Verdun branch raises money this way to help veterans and the families of soldiers killed in war. For example, more than $20,000 was raised in the 1920s.