Canada’s eight Books of Remembrance, recognizing those who have given their lives in military service to their country, are installed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in our nation’s capital, Ottawa.
A page of each book is turned every day in a ceremony at 11 a.m. so that every name sees the light of day at least once a year.
The First World War Book of Remembrance, dedicated in 1942, contains 66,655 names from the Great War, once touted as the war to end all wars.
A total of 44,893 Canadians are commemorated in the Second World War Book of Remembrance, placed in 1957.
The 211-page Newfoundland Book of Remembrance contains the names of 2,363 war dead from 1914 to 1949, before the province joined Confederation.
The South African War/Nile Expedition Book of Remembrance contains 267 names of those who perished in what is known as the 1899-1902 Boer War, as well as a special section dedicated to the 16 killed during the 1884-85 Nile Expedition, the first overseas conflict that Canada participated in.
The 516 names in the Korean War Book of Remembrance are accompanied by a page displaying the shields of 17 countries of the United Nations Forces.
Dedicated in 1993, the Merchant Navy Book of Remembrance memorializes 2,212 mariners lost during both World Wars. Merchant navy veterans did not get their medals and benefits until 1993, and their comrades killed at sea have no grave or marker.
The seventh Book of Remembrance is titled In the Service of Canada. Its first volume memorializes 1,912 Canadian Armed Forces members who have died while serving since 1947. Dedicated in 2005, it contains the names of the dead from the war in Afghanistan, as well as peacekeeping and NATO missions. A second volume now includes the names of 81 killed in action since 2015.
A total of 1,653 soldiers and sailors and Indigenous allies killed in Canada when the country was a colony of Great Britain are commemorated in the War of 1812 Book of Remembrance. As a 200th anniversary project, it was commissioned in 2012 and unveiled in 2019.
An important objective of the Books of Remembrance is to increase public awareness of those Canadians who have served in the cause of peace.
Let us never forget those who never got to enjoy the peace and freedom we enjoy every day.