by Betty Bardswich
MONUMENT ROAD— Decoration Day services were held at the Manitoulin District Cenotaph on Monument Road on June 7 with a large number of participants and audience members. As Member of Parliament (MP) Carol Hughes noted in her address, Decoration Day began in Canada on June 2, 1890. Survivors of the Battle of Ridgeway, fought near Fort Erie against the Fenians, upset with the government’s lack of action to acknowledge the soldiers, decided to have their own commemoration. They laid flowers and wreaths at the Canadian Volunteers Monument near Queen’s Park to commemorate the nine killed in that battle. Today, Decoration Day acknowledges the 115,000 Canadian soldiers who have died in the Fenian Raids as well as the North-West Rebellion, the Boer War, World Wars I and II, the Korean War and recent engagements in Afghanistan.
Sunday’s service started with a parade marched on by Parade Marshall Jack Bould who turned the parade over to Comrade Roy Eaton, the Master of Ceremonies for the event. Following an opening prayer by Pastor Joel Locke and the playing of O Canada played by bugler Bradley Sayyae, Mr. Eaton welcomed those in attendance and announced the dignitaries present. These included Ms. Hughes, Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) Mike Mantha, Comrade Tom Hywarren, the Legion’s 2nd Deputy District Commander, Comrade Flora Wilson Winn, 1st Deputy Zone Commander and Chief Joe Endanawas of Sheshegwaning First Nation, who all laid wreaths at the ceremony.
In addressing the audience, Ms. Hughes talked not only of the deaths of the nine men in the Fenian Raids, but also to all who have served and said, “We have to also mark the role the First Nation and Inuit played in protecting Canada.” She ended her talk by saying, “Thank you all present for all you do.”
Mr. Mantha also spoke at the service saying, “We remember all those who fought for us. They fought so we could live. Never forget what they did and what they did for us, to live the life we have now. We will, we must, remember them.”
Chief Joe Endanawas spoke of his close ties to many veterans and also noted that his grandfather’s name was enshrined in the memorial. He, like the MPP and MP, laid a wreath during the service, with his being laid for aboriginal veterans. Prior to the laying of the wreaths, the service included the playing of The Last Post and Rouse by Mr. Sayyae, The Lament by pipe Major Stewart Gagan, a recital of the Act of Remembrance by Mr. Eaton and a salute by the Sgt. Charles A. Gordon Veterans Rifle Team.
Several wreaths were laid at the event starting with the Silver Star representative Rhea Woods, as well as Branch 514 President Carrie Lewis, Branch 177 President Debbie Menard with escort 1st Vice President Tom Stephens, Branch 177 Past President Noreen Parkinson for the Ladies Auxiliary, President Brian Chapelle for the Manitoulin North Shore Navel Veterans with escort Bill Ranich and Jeff Marshall for the Navy League Manitoulin. The Merchant Navy was represented at the wreath laying by Jim Woods, followed by District Deputy Grand Master Dave Hodgins with Escort District Chairman Gord Fraser for the Sudbury-Manitoulin District Masons, Brother Bruce Gordon with escort Brother Mike Terry for the Manitoulin Masons of Doric Lodge #455, Noble Chuck Searle and Escort Noble Dave Marshall, Noble Ed Elchyshen with Escort Noble Ted Taylor for the Haweater Unit of the Sudbury Shrine Club and the Manitoulin Cenotaph committee in memory of Ed Kift.
Decoration Day ended with final remarks by Comrade Eaton, the playing of God Save the Queen lead by the Sudbury and District Pipe Band, and the laying of a wreath by Lieutenant Maggie King with a cadet escort at the Women’s Memorial.