• By: Tori McNeely

The World Remembers: A Canadian-led expression of remembrance and reconciliation

To mark the final centenary year of the First World War, the 1,003,167 names of those killed in 1918, including those registered as official war deaths from 1919 to 1922, will be projected onto a large screen mounted on the west facing columns of the former station adjacent to Canada's National War Memorial. The World Remembers is a powerful, unique and Canadian-led expression of remembrance and reconciliation marking the centenary years of the First World War.
From September 11 to November 11, The World Remembers final names and images display will appear for 12.8 hours each night in a major outdoor exhibit on the Government Conference Centre, Ottawa's historic railway station. In addition, daytime displays will appear at more than 60 participating locations across Canada and in 20 locations internationally.

The commemoration is the fifth of The World Remembers' five displays, showing the names of those killed in the 1914-1918 war in the 100th year after their deaths. This national and international project was created by Canadian actor and Governor General's Performing Arts Award winner R.H. Thomson and his production partner, lighting designer Martin Conboy.

Participating museums, schools, libraries, universities and community centres will also present the display at their locations.
"Memory is part of what makes us human," says R.H. Thomson. "A personal connection to the almost unimaginable history of the First World War is the goal. One hundred years later, every man or woman who lost their life, regardless of their nationality, deserves to be individually remembered. Both new Canadians and Canadians whose families lived here in the war years can search on the website for a relative who was killed and find the exact day, hour and minute that their name will appear in the displays. It is an opportunity to honour the diversity of Canadians caught up in the First World War."

The World Remembers commemorates the millions of soldiers, nurses, and other military personnel killed in the FWW from Canada and fifteen participating nations. The project respects the losses on both sides of the conflict, and looks to the future with hope and understanding.

"One hundred years after the end of the First World War, we must continue to honour the harrowing sacrifices made by soldiers and other military personnel between 1914 and 1918. We share this dark chapter in our history with many other nations, and the project The World Remembers reflects this fact. This year, the names of 23,731 Canadian soldiers will appear alongside those of thousands of men and women from other countries who lost their lives in the war. This is a wonderful example of the values of inclusion and openness that we cherish as a nation, and I am very proud to support this unique commemorative project," says The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism.
More than 23,731 Canadian names will appear in the 2018 display as well as 979,436 others from the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Germany, the United States, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, South Africa, Turkey, Slovenia, China and the British Indian Army. 

As well as locations in Canada including, among others, The Canadian War Museum, The Manitoba Museum, the City of Toronto, the City of Winnipeg, the Royal Military College, Queen's University, Trinity College Toronto, Royal BC Museum, Cape Breton University, Concordia University and Carleton University, the display will also appear in Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States and Switzerland. Canadian Embassies in Washington and Geneva and the High Commission in London UK have confirmed their participation.

All names except one will appear without order since there was no order in the deaths. The single exception will be the final name that will be that of George Lawrence Price, the Canadian who lost his life two minutes before the Armistice was declared at 11am November 11, 1918. His name will be the last name displayed early on the morning of November 11, 2018 since he was the last Commonwealth soldier killed in the First World War.

"The World Remembers offers a powerful reminder that the Great War was, first and foremost, a human tragedy. To see all those names is to appreciate that behind every one of them is a life and a story, one perhaps not so very different from another. We must never lose sight of the fact that history is not the story of nations or ideologies, but of people, and The World Remembers helps us with that," says Historian, Jonathan Vance.
It will take 61 nights to individually project the 1,003,167 names, underlining the extraordinary human cost of the final year of the First World War. Heritage Canada and Veterans Affairs Canada have provided funding for the Ottawa display that will take place each night starting at 8 pm September 11.