Little Current Legion draws in large crowd for wreath laying ceremonies

LITTLE CURRENT—The Royal Canadian Legion Branch #177 hall in Little Current was packed to standing room only for Remembrance Day ceremonies on November 11, as folks from as far away as Red Deer Village and beyond gathered to honour Canada’s veterans.

Following the march of the colours into the hall by the Manitoulin Sea Cadet Corps under Legion Sergeant at Arms Ted Musgrove, Comrade Joe Williamson led the assembly in the singing of O’ Canada while master of ceremonies Comrade Roy Eaton kept the proceedings on schedule and in order.

Comrade Eaton explained the history and significance of the two minutes of silence observed during Remembrance Day ceremonies. “Many think that this is a new addition to the ‘moment of silence’ often observed,” he said. “Not so. On the first anniversary of the Armistice in 1919, the two minutes of silence was instituted as part of the main commemorative ceremony at the new cenotaph in London, England. King George V personally requested all the people of the British Empire to suspend normal activities for two minutes on the hour of the armistice. ‘Which stayed the worldwide carnage of the four preceding years and marked the victory of right and freedom.’”

Comrade Eaton went on to explain that the two minutes of silence would follow the lament ‘Last Post’ by bugler John Mastelko and be broken after exactly two minutes by the bugler sounding ‘Rouse.’ “It symbolizes the end of silence and the command to carry on with your duties,” he said.

The Act of Remembrance was recited by Comrade Eaton and the assembly and followed by the recital of ‘In Flanders Fields’ by WWII veteran Dennis Dockrell, who recalled the iconic First World War poem of Remembrance from memory.

Branch 177’s new chaplin, Anglican minister Sherry Dejonge, then led the prayer prior to the wreath laying.

The wreaths then laid were generally escorted to the stands by members of the Manitoulin Sea Cadet Corps.

The Silver Cross Mothers were represented by Comrade Verna Heise, escorted by Comrade Georgina Lovelace.

In a break with traditional protocol, which Comrade Eaton noted would be the laying of the Canadian wreath at this point, the Year of the Korean War Veteran was honoured by a laying of a wreath in memory of the fallen from that conflict. Korean veteran James Still of Little Current laid the wreath, escorted by Legion Branch 177 president Ron Steeves.

The Government of Canada wreath was laid by Comrade Marcel Gauthier; the Province of Ontario wreath was laid by Legion vice-president Georgina Lovelace; the Northeast Town wreath was laid by Mayor Al MacNevin; the District H wreath was laid by Zone H3 Commander Fred Medynski, the Zone H3 wreath was also laid by Comrade Medynski; the Branch 177 wreath was laid by president Ron Steeves, escorted by 2nd vice president Connie Donaldson; the Ladies’ Auxilliary wreath was laid by their president Noreen Parkinson escorted by Comrade Brenda Hallet; the Canadian Forces wreath was laid by WWII veterans Humphrey Beaudin and Dennis Dockrell; the Navy League of Canada wreath was laid by Comrade Jeff Marshall; the Royal Canadian Air Force wreath was laid by Mrs. Sue Morin, daughter of the late Colonel George Bury; on behalf of the spouses of veterans who returned with seen and unseen wounds wreath was laid by Mrs. Irene Dockrell, escorted by her grandsons Sea Cadets Bradley and Ben Sayyae.

Further wreaths were lain on behalf of serving nurses by the Manitoulin Health Centre nursing staff; the RCMP; the OPP; the UCCM Tribal Police; the EMS; Noojmowin Teg; the Sudbury and District Masons; the Haweater unit of the Shrine Club; Guardian Drugs and Isabelle Assiniwe and Ava Ferguson, great granddaughters of WWII veterans Jacob Assiniwe and Humphrey Beaudin respectively, laid a wreath on behalf of the children of the world.

Following the indoor ceremony, a short ceremony was conducted at the Legion cenotaph outside of the Legion hall and a light lunch was served.

A wreath was laid at the downtown cenotaph by Turners of Little Current and the Manitoulin Expositor, as is done by the Turner and McCutcheon families each year.

The cadets marched to a ceremony at Manitoulin Centennial Manor before taking a tour of the new joint RCMP/Coast Guard vessel Constable Carriere docked in downtown Little Current for the day’s services.

Michael Erskine