New GG Julie Payette presides over Remembrance Day ceremonies
The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, November 11, 2017 8:08AM EST
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marked Remembrance Day in Vietnam on Saturday by reciting a poem and singing the national anthem alongside Canadian military personnel.
Trudeau was in Danang, where he just took part in the leaders' summit for the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation.
Canadians will pause across the country -- and around the world -- Saturday to reflect on the sacrifices made in past and present conflicts.
For Julie Payette, this will mark the first Remembrance Day service she attends since becoming Governor General and Canada's commander-in-chief.
Payette is scheduled to join veterans and other dignitaries at the national ceremony, held each year at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.
Later, Payette will host a luncheon in honour of this year's national Silver Cross Mother, Diana Abel, who lost her son, Corporal Michael David Abel, on May 3, 1993, during Operation Deliverance, in Belet Huen, Somalia.
Special attention is also being paid this year to several key battles from the First and Second World Wars, including the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele, which ended on Nov. 10, 1917.
More than 4,000 Canadians were killed and 12,000 were wounded in Passchendaele, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described as a symbol of the worst horrors of the First World War.
"Our soldiers fought an impossible fight with perseverance, valour, and commitment to a greater cause," Trudeau said in a statement issued Friday.
"Nine Canadians would earn the Victoria Cross for their bravery. Yet the battle came at a devastating cost."
In Danang on Saturday, Trudeau joined nearly 100 people in a hotel conference room for a ceremony that began about an hour after his closing news conference at the APEC summit.
He recited the French poem, "Le dormeur du val," and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland read "In Flanders Fields." A bugler then played "Last Post" and the room sang the national anthem.
This year also marked a century since the April 1917 Battle of Vimy Ridge, which saw nearly 3,600 Canadians killed and more than 7,000 wounded, and 75 years since the Dieppe Raid of the Second World War.
Several Howitzer cannons will send thunderous echoes across the capital today as members of the 30th Field Artillery Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, fire several gun salutes as part of Remembrance Day ceremonies.
The Royal Canadian Air Force will also conduct three flypasts over Ottawa-area ceremonies, including two CF-18 Hornets from 3 Wing Bagotville, Que., that will fly above the National War Memorial.