GORE BAY – The bitter cold temperatures and wind could not dampen the spirits of the many people who gathered at the cenotaph in Gore Bay for the annual Remembrance Day ceremonies, this past Monday.
The parade of veterans, Legion members, OPP, EMS personnel and the students and administration of Charles C. McLean Public School were led by veteran Jim Kiviaho and piper Dave Beaton from the Royal Canadian Legion branch in Gore Bay to the cenotaph.
As everyone gathered at the cenotaph, Jim Woods of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 514 said, “on behalf of Western Manitoulin Branch 514 of the Royal Canadian Legion, I extend our warmest welcome to this Remembrance Day Service. It is very gratifying to see so many in attendance to pay tribute to all who have served our country in war and peace time, especially those who did not return home to be reunited with their families. It was 101 years ago today that the Armistice was signed to end World War One. Unfortunately it was not the last war that our men and women again had to defend us so that we have the freedom we enjoy today.”
“I would also like to extend a special welcome to Mr. (Ray) Scott and the Grade 4/5 class from C.C. McLean,” continued Mr. Woods. “They will be leading us in ‘O Canada,’ ‘God Save the Queen’ and will be singing a special song, “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream.”
“Also this morning, we have a very special addition to our service,” said Mr. Woods. “To the left of the cenotaph is the Poppy Arch. This arch was created by the women of our community and the surrounding area. Approximately 1,200 poppies were knitted by them and then hand-tied to create this lovely piece. We are very grateful for their contribution to our service.”
After ‘O Canada,’ Legion chaplain Erwin Thompson provided the opening prayer. “Creator of all peoples, we come before you in remembrance. Remembering especially today the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. We give thanks for the sacrifice of all those who were involved in this conflict. Many carried the scars of memory but would not talk about what they endured, in thinking they were protecting their loved ones, and yet their families had to live with the horror of night sweats, violent outbursts and broken marriages. These same emotions are still evident in many of our now-serving personnel. May we as individuals and country support and offer assistance in dealing with these problems.”
“As we take this short time of remembrance, may we appreciate the efforts of all armed forces, police, fire persons, paramedics in Canada,” said Mr. Thompson. “They offer their willingness to protect and help Canada whether it is in another country or here at home. May they know the support and thankfulness of each of us for all they do.”
The Last Post followed the opening prayer, and this was followed by two minutes of silence, the lament by piper Dave Beaton, Reveille and The Act of Remembrance.
Mr. Woods introduced those taking part in the wreath-laying ceremony, which included Don Watson, past district officer of the Legion, on behalf of the federal government; Bob Yaegar with the provincial wreath; Mayor Dan Osborne on behalf of the town of Gore Bay; Reeve Lee Hayden for the Municipality of Burpee and Mills; Canadian Forces warrant officer (retired) Jack Bould; Western Manitoulin Branch 514 president Carrie Lewis; Canada Post Corporation postmaster Daylin Orford; Ontario Provincial Police Constable Darryl Leighton; Gore Bay Masonic Lodge worthy brother Scott McDougall; Spanish River Chapter 237 of the Order of the Eastern Star worthy matron Vanessa Jo Woods; on behalf of the C.C. McLean student body Joey Ruyter and Leith Ward; John Allison for the Manitoulin-Sudbury EMS; Gore Bay-Gordon/Barrie Island Fire Department fire chief Mike Addison; for the children of Manitoulin Sydney Pfeifer and Jaci Olson Ewart; and the Girl Guides.
Rylee Williamson, a C.C. McLean student, then read the poem ‘In Flanders Fields,’ followed by the C.C. McLean Grade 4/5 students’ song ‘Last Night I had the Strangest Dream.’
The closing prayer was delivered by Mr. Thompson, followed by everyone taking part in singing ‘God Save the Queen.’