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Archived - National Sentry Program

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With the mounting of sentries at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the National Sentry Program (NSP) reinforces the Canadian commitment to remember and honour Canadians who served in both World Wars, as well as those who have contributed to Canada’s long standing tradition of military excellence through to the present day. The sentries reinforce public awareness that the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is to be treated with dignity, tribute and respect.

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces will perform sentry duty from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm during the dates April 9 to November 10. In addition, sentries will also be mounted to commemorate other significant military anniversaries between November and April.

April 9 marks the start of the Battle of Vimy Ridge during the First World War in which some 100,000 Canadians participated and approximately 11,000 became casualties, nearly 3,600 of these fatal.

The Canadian Armed Forces has been mounting sentries at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the months of July and August since 2007. The NSP expands the current program with a rotation of sentries from the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Special Operations Command.

Special military anniversaries will be recognized with sentries from the associated units, ships, squadrons, branches and Corps.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is in front of the National War Memorial, which is our most iconic and visible reminder of the service and sacrifice of members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Due to restorative work on the National War Memorial, the first sentry will be posted on August 4, 2014, which coincides with the centenary of the start of the First World War.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

In May 2000, the remains of an unidentified Canadian soldier who died in the First World War were repatriated from France and, with great ceremony, were buried in a special tomb in front of the National War Memorial in Ottawa. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was created to honour the more than 116,000 Canadians who sacrificed their lives in the cause of peace and freedom. Furthermore, the Unknown Soldier represents all Canadians, whether they be navy, army, air force or merchant marine, who died or may die for their country in all conflicts – past, present, and future.

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