World War I concluded on November 11, 1918 and is referred to as one of the most deadly conflicts in human history. The war lasted for more than four years, and killed nearly 61,000 Canadians, while wounding more than 170,000.

Many of the brave soldiers who fought for their country had their names commemorated after their passing, however there are many young men who have become infamous for their lack of recognition. One man, who is only known by his sacrifices near Vimy Ridge, had this tombstone created in his honour. As the number of unknown solders increased, the tombstone’s significance grew to become a greater representation of everyone’s sacrifices. Nearly 7000 Canadians are now referred to as “unknown soldiers” after their deceased bodies were recovered, yet unidentifiable.

A white rectangular tomb-like structure sits on a grey wall. The tomb contains an engraving of a maple leaf, red poppies on the right, and an engraved cross at the bottom. The text is barely legible due to camera limitations of the time.
A memorial for unnamed victims of war lies in Ottawa’s Canadian War Museum, with special engineering that permits sunlight only on the anniversary of the first World War’s finale.

This memorial is also designed to honour those with unknown resting places so that, although their efforts may not be accurately credited, their memory remains on people’s minds when reflecting on the war. In Ottawa’s Canadian War Museum, the tombstone is kept as a memorial to represent those “only known to God.” An interesting element of this memorial is that the roof of the room has been specifically engineered to only allow sunlight to shine on the tomb once a year at 11:11 am on November 11th as a tribute to the end of the first World War.

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