The maple leaf has been used as a Canadian emblem since the 18th century. It was first used as a national symbol in 1868 when it appeared on the coat of arms of both Ontario and Quebec. In 1867, Alexander Muir composed the patriotic song "The Maple Leaf Forever", which became an unofficial anthem in English-speaking Canada. The maple leaf was later added to the Canadian coat of arms in 1921. From 1876 until 1901, the leaf appeared on all Canadian coins and remained on the penny after 1901. The use of the maple leaf by the Royal Canadian Regiment as a regimental symbol extended back to 1860. During the First World War and Second World War, badges of the Canadian Forces were often based on a maple leaf design. The maple leaf would eventually adorn the tombstones of Canadian military graves.
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