For those who came out to pay their respects at the Remembrance Day ceremonies Monday, snowy weather shouldn’t have been a problem as they could warm up shortly after the service was over.
But Canada’s veterans who have fought and died in wars around the world never had that choice, said Paul Eramian, president of The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 124.
“They didn’t know when they (would) be able to warm up, if they ever could warm up again,” Eramian said.
The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 124 held two services on Nov. 11 to honour fallen soldiers and veterans as well as those who continue to serve in the armed forces nowadays.
“We try to keep the memory alive although a lot of those folks are not with us anymore,” Eramian told The Lake Report. “Because the freedoms we enjoy today are thanks to them.”
For Niagara-on-the-Lake residents Gwen and David Laing, who came to the Queen Street ceremony to pay respects to their relatives who have fought in The Great War, the service was held with “dignity and respect.”
“We’re enjoying something that we could never do without their sacrifice and what they went through is unimaginable to us,” said David Laing, whose uncle James McLennan Laing died in the First World War.
“We feel it’s important for the younger generation for them to be educated on the wars and people who fought for our freedom,” added Gwen Laing, whose grandfather James Andrew Streeter fought in The 5th Battalion during the Great War.
“We hope to carry on remembrance of that for the years to come.”
The Old Town service began with a parade of veterans, Legion members, air cadets and police, fire and emergency service workers.
The ceremony also included a two-minute silence, singing the national anthem and a hymn, and wreath-laying.
A number of town and regional officials, including Lord Mayor Betty Disero and regional councillor Gary Zalepa, were in attendance at the morning ceremony.
“Too often in our hectic and sometimes self-centered world, it is far too easy to lose sight of the significance of this day and to take for granted the freedom and opportunities which generations of Canadians fought hard to attain,” Disero said in an online statement.
“And so collectively, as a nation, we pause to honour the many brave men and woman who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. We also take this opportunity to acknowledge those who courageously serve and fight for Canada today; their sacrifice is unmeasurable,” lord mayor said.
After the services were over, the Legion members and community residents gathered at the branch.