Calgary Remembers: Thousands gather for Remembrance Day ceremony at Field of Crosses
Global Calgary joined with Calgarians to honour the sacrifices of our veterans this Remembrance Day, with a special live broadcast of ceremonies from the Field of Crosses.
The Field of Crosses memorial project is an annual tribute to southern Alberta soldiers who enlisted and lost their lives while defending our freedom in Canada’s wars and peacekeeping missions.
Located in city park space along Memorial Drive, the startlingly visual memorial is made up of over 3,400 white crosses, displayed from Nov. 1 to 12. Each cross is engraved with the soldier’s name, age at death, rank, regiment and date of death.
“This is a mock cemetery,” said organizer Dave Howard of the Canadian Legacy Project.
“It takes your breath away, it is very moving.”
This year, close to 10,000 people were expected to attend Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Field of Crosses.
Global News coverage began at 10:30 a.m MT with news anchor Linda Olsen hosting our live broadcast of #CalgaryRemembers.
Olsen introduced viewers to veterans, youth and volunteers from the Field of Crosses who reflected on why Remembrance Day is so important for them and why other Canadians should take time to remember the sacrifices of our veterans.
Global’s Jordan Witzel was Master of Ceremonies for the Remembrance Day ceremony itself, which began at 10:40 a.m. MT and culminated in the observation of two minutes of silence to honour those who died in the line of duty.
The two minutes of silence are annually observed at 11 a.m. of the 11th day of the 11th month, marking the moment the fighting of the First World War ended in 1918.
The Field of Crosses project, which began in 2009, is an initiative of the McCann Family Foundation, started by Murray McCann, and the late George Bittman of the Calgary Poppy Fund.
At sunrise each morning from Nov. 1 to 11 there is a flag-raising ceremony at the Field of Crosses, which includes a local school singing the national anthem, a bugler and a piper. The ceremonies are also attended by family and friends of fallen soldiers, veterans, national, provincial and local dignitaries along with members of the public.
A separate ceremony is held at sunset each evening when the flags are lowered.
“I find it most rewarding that the Field of Crosses has allowed so many Calgarians to honour those heroes who, for our tomorrows, gave of their todays,” Murray McCann said.
“This also gives the families an opportunity to come out, whether they’ve lost someone through a war or a peacekeeping mission, this is a chance for closure,” said Dave Howard.
It is estimated more than 4,000 men and women from southern Alberta have been been killed serving our country. Each year additional crosses are added to the Field of Crosses.