Today isn't just Canada Day.
For the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, it's Memorial Day. Or Beaumont Hamel Day.
Beaumont Hamel is a sleeply little town in France.
It was also the site of a horrifying massacure.
801 Newfoundland man rushed across field, smack dab into barbed wire and machine guns.
Less than a half hour later, only 69 were left standing and uninjured.
Every single officer died.
Every soldier was equipped with a small tin triangle on their backs, the better for friendly aircraft to identify them and plot the advance. That it gave the Germans something to aim at was not considered. I can't even imagine what that most have been life - to wait in a bloody muddy field all day, hoping for night, a chance to slip back to safety. Feeling the heat of the metal, knowing what it represented.
The Newfoundland Regiment was awarded the title "Royal" in World War 1, but such honours can't compare to the impact on the island. The first 800, the Blue Puttees, came from every part of the province, represented every facet of our population. They were amongst the best and brightest we had. The bravest. Every community and every family felt the loss. And we still do, decades later.