Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The Canadian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier symbolises all past and future Canadians who have fallen in conflict.

On the morning of Tuesday, 16 May 2000, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission exhumed the remains of an unknown Canadian soldier from grave 7, Row E, Plot 8 of the Cabaret-Rouge Cemetery in Souchez, France, near Vimy Ridge. On May 25th, the soldier’s remains were flown to Ottawa, Canada with a 45-member honour guard, chaplain, veterans, and two Canadian youth representatives. For three days the remains lay in state in the Hall of Honour, in the Center Block of Parliament Hill. On May 28th, the unknown soldier was transported to the National War Memorial in a horse-drawn Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) gun carriage, where the soldier, in a silver maple casket, was interred in a sarcophagus in front of the War Memorial before a crowd of 20,000 including Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, her husband, and Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. The tomb was designed by Canadian artist Mary-Ann Liu from Mission, British Columbia and the dark caledonia granite was quarried in Rivière-à-Pierre, Quebec. Soil from each province, territory and from the soldier’s former grave in France, were placed on the casket before it was sealed in the sarcophagus.

The bronze sculpture relief, cast in Roberts Creek, British Columbia, includes a medieval sword, helmet, and branches of both maple and laurel leaves to symbolise victory and death. Three of the four corner pieces are decorated with Memorial Crosses, differentiated by the Royal Cyphers of Kings George V, George VI and Queen Elizabeth II, with a poppy on the 4th, representing future conflicts.

On 22 October 2014, 24-year-old Corporal Nathan Cirillo, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, was gunned-down while on sentry duty behind the Tomb of the unknown soldier.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.

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