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

Students sign to pledge their support of ending use of the 'R' word. (Contributed photo)
LETTER: Autistic woman says use of the R-word is a degrading reminder of how cruel the world can be

‘I am a person with autism and I know how it feels to be ridiculed, laughed and even feared’

Construction is expected to start in March of 2021 on 23 new rental homes funded by the provincial government’s Community Housing Fund. (Metro Creative photo)
Province announces rental home project in Chilliwack paid for by Community Housing Fund

Twenty three homes for Indigenous families are planned in partnership with Tzeachten First Nation

Shandhar Hut Indian Cuisine reopened Dec. 1, 2020 in Chilliwack after closing Nov. 19 as a precautionary move to keep everyone safe. (Shandhar Hut/Facebook)
Chilliwack restaurant reopens after closing temporarily as a precautionary step

‘We are so grateful to everyone for their kindness,’ says Shandhar Hut manager

Police say 30-year-old Andrew Baldwin was killed in Surrey on Nov. 11. (Photo: Police handout)
Fourth man charged in 2019 Surrey murder

Andrew Baldwin, 30, was killed on Remembrance Day last year

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

Photo by Dale Klippenstein
Suspect tries to thwart police in Abbotsford with false 911 call about men with guns

Man twice sped away from officers and then tried to throw them off his trail

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

Most Read