Remembering the fallen

Neil B. Sparkes and Juris Graney
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"As the ceremony comes to a close and the tears are wiped off people's cheeks we all smile knowing, that if it wasn't for these brave men and women who gave up their lives, we might not have such an amazing and peaceful country to live in."

285 Leif Eriksen Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Ordinary Seaman Leah Carroll was one of hundreds of people to flock to, and participate in, Remembrance Day services across the Northern Peninsula and Southern Labrador on Nov. 11 to remember those who fought and died for this country and for Newfoundland and Labrador.

"As the ceremony comes to a close and the tears are wiped off people's cheeks we all smile knowing, that if it wasn't for these brave men and women who gave up their lives, we might not have such an amazing and peaceful country to live in."

Those poignant words, penned by 774 St. Anthony Air Cadets' sergeant Leanne Roberts, not only won her a trip to Ottawa as part of a Department of Defense initiative, but it perfectly summed up the feelings of all of those who attended the many commemoration services held across the Northern Peninsula and Southern Labrador on Nov. 11.

Sgt. Roberts spent a week in the capital as one of just four Newfoundland and Labrador cadets selected to pay their respects at the national Remembrance Day service on the basis of a 500 word essay she wrote about what the day means to her.

"It was an amazing experience to be there as part of the service, to see the air salute and the 21 gun salute," she said on her return.

As thousands descended onto the National War Memorial in Ottawa to pay their respects, hundreds of people from dozens of communities converged on cenotaphs to pay their respect to the fallen soldiers of Newfoundland and Labrador but to spend quiet moments contemplating those still currently serving overseas.

In St. Anthony, Canadian Rangers joined the 774 St. Anthony Air Cadets of St. Anthony and 285 Leif Eriksen Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps of St. Lunaire-Griquet and hundreds of others in a solemn service led by Pastor Jefferey Bessey.

Mr. Bessey shared his reflections of World War I, which was thought to be the war to end all wars, and he also spoke of the importance of the poppy detailing the origins and significance of the red flower that was featured in John McCrae's iconic poem, In Flanders Fields.

In Port Saunders the service, hosted by the 857 Roncalli Air Cadets, was attended by record numbers with more than 200 people packing the gym of the French Shore Academy because of forecasted strong winds and rain.

It was a similar scene at Plum Point with better than expected crowds turning out from the surrounding communities despite the weather.

In Labrador, after a summer of hauling stone and wood, the new memorial site in West St. Modeste was unveiled last week during the community's Remembrance Day ceremony.

The new site invites people down a newly built boardwalk that leads to a stone monument in front of the three flags. The view from the landing overlooks the coast and glimpses the edges of surrounding communities.

The monument is home to three engraved plaques, memorializing three veterans who called the area home: Cornelius Glynn, L'Anse au Diable; David Bolger, West St. Modeste; and William Tracey, Carroll's Cove.

Families of the veterans were on hand to lay wreaths in remembrance of their loved ones and the sacrifices they made. Relatives, young and old, celebrated those memories in appreciation of the freedom they enjoy today.

Roddickton-Bide Arm residents were joined by those in Main Brook for a service that featured students from Cloud River Academy singing ‘This is Our Flag' and reflections by Pastor Craig Gaulton, Pastor Vanzel Quinlan and Pastor Rene Cassell.

Further down Route 433 in Englee, young and old alike congregated around the town's cenotaph and were joined by Croque and Englee members of the Canadian Rangers who were in town on exercises.

An estimated crowd of between 60 and 70 attended a service led by Pastor Chris Green, Pastor George Burton and Pastor Ivan Boone.

Over in Conche more than 30 people attended the service which was hosted by various members in the community and officiated by Gertrude Bromley.

 

Organizations: Department of Defense, Canadian Sea Cadet Corps, French Shore Academy Cloud River Academy

Geographic location: St. Anthony, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ottawa Northern Peninsula West St. Modeste Port Saunders Plum Point Main Brook Conche

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