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Tuesday is Canada Day across the country, a time when Canadians from coast to coast celebrate what a great country we live in — a country judged to be at the top when compared with almost all others.

But for us Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, it a bittersweet time to celebrate and party.

July 1 is Memorial Day in this province, a day we remember the young Newfoundlanders who were slaughtered during the First World War.

It marks the day when hundreds of young men from this province were cut down during the battle Beaumont Hamel in France.

These mostly boys from all over the island put their lives on hold to fight for king and country.

Many of them never came back and their bodies line in neat fields of crosses in a country far away.

Imagine what they faced leaving the peace and quiet of tiny outports to face the mud and misery of all-out war. In those days, with almost no connection with the outside world, they sailed off to a world they knew nothing about — walking down the streets of London or Paris before facing unknown horror.

It is said this province took decades to recover from the loss of our best and brightest young men in that gruesome conflict.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War and we should all make a special effort to mark that occasion.

Before heading off to a party in the park or a neighbourhood barbecue, take a few moments to attend a ceremony honouring those who gave their lives so long ago.

Geographic location: London, Paris

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