As sergeant-at-arms for Branch 13 of the Royal Canadian Legion in Corner Brook, Paul White has called to order a few Remembrance Day parades.
As he walked along East Valley Road on Sunday, he made sure everyone was in place before starting the parade that would make its way on a cold, snowy morning to the cenotaph on West Street for the city’s annual Remembrance Day Ceremony.
“I feel absolutely honoured to be with a bunch of men and women that served this country, and young fellows here that’s about to serve this country,” said White as he looked around at the groups gathering — veterans, peace keepers and members of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.
White was with the Canadian Forces combat engineers and served six tours overseas. When asked what it means to him to remember, he replied that it was a touchy subject.
“I’m here today to remember the boys that never came back. They’re the ones that made the ultimate sacrifice. They’re the true heroes. Not us. We came back.”
At the front of the parade members of the city’s cadet groups stood with flags and behind them the 184 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Curling band.
Teagan Hemsley, a master seaman with the corps, said she was grateful that she was able to represent the corps in the parade as she held her glockenspiel high.
“I’m thankful for the people who fought for our freedom,” she said.
She said it’s important to mark the day.
“So, that you never forget the sacrifice that was made, the lives that were lost in the battles that were fought for our freedom.”
A little farther up the road was a group of young children, too young to know a lot about war.
“It’s very important to know their past and their history,” said Jeff Lamswood, group commissioner of the 54th Corner Brook Beavers.
“Every year we always go over everything with the boys of why it’s so important to come out and support the people in the past, in the present and the people who are continuing to serve.”
Part of that lesson includes pointing out that it is because of the sacrifices of others that they are able to go out and enjoy fun activities in the community and to be happy.
“It’s all part of what the forces have done to give us a better life.”
There were a few people lining the road as the parade made its way to Remembrance Square. As it past they followed behind and joined in the few hundred others who stood in the cold to watch the ceremony, paying tribute in their own way.