Royal Canadian Legion hosts Remembrance Day ceremony, commemorates armistice 100

GORE BAY—Despite the snowy, cold weather, there was a huge turnout at the Western Manitoulin Branch 514 Remembrance Day ceremony held this past Sunday in Gore Bay.

The local service included veterans, Legion members and others for the parade to the cenotaph. John Baker flew the Canadian flag in the parade with Wade Cook flying the flag of the Royal Canadian Legion flag in the parade. This was followed by the ringing of church bells at 10:58 am.

Deanna Lewis, poppy chairman for Legion Branch 514, Western Manitoulin, welcomed everyone to the ceremony. “On November 11 we observe a moment of silence to honour the courage, valour and sacrifice of the heroes who have served—and continue to serve—Canada during times of war and conflict.”

Ms. Lewis explained, “we do this on this day because 86 years ago, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the armistice between Britain, France, and Germany went into effect, bringing an end to the First World War. More than 625,000 Canadian men and women had served; 154,361 had been wounded and 61,082 had lost their lives—a full 10 percent of those that served our country lost their lives for our freedom. We also remember those who stayed in Canada and served on our soil.”

“This year, 2018, represents Armistice 100 which marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War and that is something special,” said Ms. Lewis. “We commemorate this with ‘Ringing for Peace.’ With the coordination of our local churches who assist with the Ringing of the Bells, we recognize the loss of so many lives, and further acknowledge that our fallen have contributed to the future in terms of helping secure peace. With the Ringing of the Bells we participate to make the clear statement that bell ringers want peace.”

Ms. Lewis continued, “we would like to acknowledge any veterans that are with us today and their families—thank you all for choosing to spend this morning with us. At the same time, we recognize the absence of veterans in all our communities. Remembrance Day is about paying tribute to the members of the Canadian Armed Forces who fought to defend our values and freedoms, and those that continue to serve our country today.”

“We wear our poppies in recognition and respect,” said Ms. Lewis. “Today, the Poppy Campaign is one of the Royal Canadian Legion’s most important programs. We thank you all who support the Poppy Campaign each year.” She noted money raised from poppy sales provides direct assistance for ex-service people in financial distress, as well as funding for medical appliances and research, home service, care facilities and numerous other purposes.”

“Loving Creator, Holy God, we have gathered together as a community of Canadians on Western Manitoulin to remember all those who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces,” said Erwin Thompson, Legion chaplain. “They have served bravely in many conflicts and wards protecting our values of freedom.”
“We give thanks to those who have heard the call to serve in our Armed Forces whose backgrounds are from our multicultural society—Indigenous, Black, Asian or Caucasian etc. We say with a grateful heart, “thank you for your service and all you do.”

“Today we especially remember all those 620,000 who served, 66,000 who died, and 172,000 who were wounded and the unknown civilians effected in World War 1 on this the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918 at 11 am,” continued Mr. Thompson.

The Last Post was followed by two minutes of silence, the Reveille and Act of Remembrance read by Ms. Lewis.

Rylee Williamson then read the poem ‘In Flanders Fields.’

The laying of wreaths ceremony took place with cadets escorting those taking part, including the federal government wreath, Don Watson; Ontario government wreath, Donna Foster; Town of Gore Bay, Mayor Ron Lane; Canadian Forces, retired warrant officer Jack Bould; Western Manitoulin Branch 514 president Carrie Lewis; Ontario Provincial Police Constable Daryl Leighton; C.C. McLean Public School students Rylee Williamson and Mason Leighton along with principal Tracy Chapman; Spanish River Chapter 237 Order of the Eastern Star, Jo Woods; Canada Post Corporation, Anya Wright; Municipality of Gordon/Barrie Island Reeve Lee Hayden and Municipality of Burpee and Mills Councillor Lyle Honess; Manitoulin/Sudbury EMS paramedic John Allison; Gordon Barrie Island and Gore Bay Fire Department Fire Chief Mike Addison; Child of Manitoulin Sadie Hardy; Ist Western Manitoulin Girl Guides, Anya Wright, Leah Campbell and Olivia Gray; Masonic Lodge, Scott McDougall; and First World War vets (100th anniversary of armistice), Jim Woods.

The poem High Flight was read by Malia Leighton, with the closing prayer presented by Chaplin Erwin Thompson.

The ceremony closed with the singing of ‘God Save the Queen.’