By: Joel Rumson
On November 11, Fredericton came together as a community to mourn the loss of fallen soldiers and appreciate the sacrifices made by those who served at a ceremony held on King Street.
John McLaughlin, a Fredericton resident, took his annual pilgrimage to the Tay Creek Cemetery where both of his parents had served in WW2. Serendipitously, his daughter Kate had been flying for commercial airlines and was near Tay Creek. She shared a moment of silence at the same moment that John found himself paying respects to his parents.
“We [came] together in community to remember all those who have served Canada during wartime and peacekeeping: those whose lives were lost, those who were wounded physically or mentally and carry a disability with them for the rest of their lives,” explained New Brunswick Green Party Leader, David Coon. “We remember the horrendous impact of families of lost loved ones, that can reach across generations.”
Coon spoke to the importance of the day, and of recognizing the sacrifices that were made.
“These sacrifices were made out of a commitment to serve our community at large, to safeguard our peace and security at home and abroad. The onus is on us to collectively remember their service and their sacrifice.”
Kingsclear First Nation planned a Remembrance Day ceremony as usual but, due to unfortunate circumstances involving COVID-19, the in-person ceremony was cancelled and moved online.
The ceremony planned to include the presentation of the Eagle Staff by Chief Gabriel Atwin, the singing of “O Canada” in Maliseet by Elder Frank Atwin, the Lord’s Prayer in Maliseet by elder Nelson Solomon, welcoming remarks by Chief Gabriel Atwin, introduction/reading of the names by Councilor Patrick Polchies, laying of the wreaths by community members, the drumming and singing of ‘The Veterans Song’ by Hayley Polchies, and closing remarks by Councilor Patrick Polchies.
Following an influx of COVID-19 exposures, it was decided by the Kingsclear Health Centre and the Kingsclear First Nation board that it was in the community’s best interest to cancel the newly revised online rendition of the ceremony.
In Oromocto, ceremonies were able to go ahead, with community members convening at the Oromocto Legion Branch 93 with proof of vaccination and a valid government issued identification at on November 11.
Spectators were given a chance to be part of the honour guard as well. A guard of honour, also known as honour guard or ceremonial guard, is usually military in nature and is appointed to receive or guard a head of state or other dignitaries, the fallen in war.
In Oromocto, a light lunch and tea/coffee was served at the legion. It was noted to those who planned on participating that there was no charge for food and that those who put together the event would continue serving free food while supplies lasted.
After the food and tea ran out, the legion had live and pre-recorded music playing, allowing those attending to mingle and baste in the memory of the fallen. This was also at no charge and ran until those attending departed.
Veterans Memorial Park in Marysville also held a ceremony for the fallen soldiers. Due to COVID-19, there was no parade or march, but bystanders with proof of vaccination were allowed to watch and partake in the ceremony. It included a small display with a wreath and a moment of silence.