Peter Dawe salutes his son Capt. Matthew Dawe’s grave in Kingston, Ont., on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020. Capt.Matthew Dawe died in Afghanistan on July 4, 2007. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

Peter Dawe salutes his son Capt. Matthew Dawe’s grave in Kingston, Ont., on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020. Capt.Matthew Dawe died in Afghanistan on July 4, 2007. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

Fewer people plan to attend virtual or in-person Remembrance Day ceremonies: poll

The poll found that roughly 71 per cent of respondents will wear a poppy

Fewer people plan to participate in Remembrance Day ceremonies or wear poppies this year, according to a poll from Historica Canada that also suggests knowledge of Canadian military history is dwindling.

The poll found that roughly 71 per cent of respondents will wear a poppy, down from 85 per cent last year; and 28 per cent of people will attend ceremonies either online or in person, down from 41 per cent last year.

Anthony Wilson-Smith of Historica Canada says those findings are understandable, given global pandemic, but the bigger issue, not attributable to COVID-19, is the declining knowledge of military history.

The poll conducted by Ipsos found that four in ten Canadians feel they know more about American military history than that of Canada — climbing from one-third of Canadians last year.

Meanwhile 16 per cent of Canadians never learned about Canada’s key conflicts in school — including the First World War, Second World War, Korean War and October Crisis.

It also found that 45 per cent of respondents think they know about the history of Black, Indigenous, and racialized groups in Canadian military service, but only 14 per cent could correctly identify the country’s only all-Black battalion – the No. 2 Construction Battalion.

Wilson-Smith says this year is a particularly good opportunity to brush up on Canadian military history, in part because of COVID-19.

“The pandemic, which calls for a greater sense of unity, which puts people under unprecedented conditions no one’s ever really lived through before, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s like a wartime condition, but it calls on some of the same qualities,” he said.

“Remembrance Day has always been a time for both reflecting on loss and also, frankly, on our good fortune. And this year is a year of remembering that we have lived through difficult times before — in fact more difficult during 1939 to 45 than we’re living through today.”

It’s also a poignant Remembrance Day given the toll the pandemic has taken on veterans.

It’s difficult for many veterans to apply for federal support this year because they can’t see doctors. And those who have applied face long wait times to find out if they qualify for assistance as the government slowly works its way through a backlog of claims.

Veterans’ organizations such as the Royal Canadian Legion are also struggling financially, closing branches across the country while waiting for federal assistance.

Wilson-Smith said those looking to brush up on their Canadian military history can check out resources from Historica, or those provided by Heritage Canada.

READ MORE: COVID-19 reduces public dimension of Remembrance Day commemorations

Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Remembrance Day

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said growing COVID-19 case numbers continue to be a concern in the province. (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta announces 1,077 new COVID-19 cases Thursday

There are currently 14,052 active cases in the province

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said the 500 deaths from COVID-19 in the province are a tragic milestone. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta hits ‘tragic milestone’ with more COVID-19 deaths

Province up to 500 COVID-19 deaths, adds 1,265 cases

Photo Submitted
Sylvan Lake Grade 2 students in Holiday Healing Campaign

Students in Nicole Eleniak’s class worked to share love and joy with other children this holiday

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

The Red Deer Games Foundation has made changes to its grant program as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo supplied)
Red Deer Games Foundation adjusts grant program due to COVID-19 pandemic

The foundation postponed the spring 2020 grant program due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

skip2
Rimbey Christian School students experience the joy of giving

Grades three and four students raised $2,000 for Somalian children

File Photo
Sylvan Lake Town Council asks for a mask bylaw to be brought forward for consideration

The bylaw would require face coverings in all indoor Town-owned and operated facilities

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

Most Read