Lest We Forget
At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, a record-breaking 1,700 students, faculty, staff, community members and veterans gathered at U of T’s Soldiers’ Tower to honour Canada’s fallen soldiers. The Service of Remembrance is an integral part of University life. This year’s ceremonies took on special meaning, marking the centenary of the start of the First World War and 75 years since the beginning of World War II. The deaths of two Canadian soldiers on home soil just weeks before Remembrance Day also weighed heavily on the minds of those present. The impressive turnout was due in large part to efforts by the Soldiers’ Tower Committee, a subcommittee of the UTAA. Situated at the western end of Hart House and standing 143 feet tall, the Soldiers’ Tower is a proud memorial to the 628 members of the University of Toronto who gave their lives while on active service in 1914–1918 and to the 557 men and women lost from 1939 to 1945. It was built in 1923–1924 using funds raised by the UTAA. In recent years, more than 10,000 alumni have contributed to annual fund appeals to fully restore Soldiers’ Tower. This year’s service included the recitation of the poem “In Flanders Fields” by UC alumnus John McCrea, the singing of traditional hymns, readings, laying of wreaths, the Last Post, the Lament, Reveille, and the Royal and National Anthems. A reception in the Great Hall of Hart House followed the service, and the Memorial Room in the Soldiers’ Tower welcomed visitors to the museum on the second level of the tower, which includes a collection of medals, photographs and the great memorial stained glass window.