"Throughout the site the grounds are riddled with, trenches, wartime tunnels and mine craters, these have been preserved and enable the visitor to easily imagine the horrors of trench warfare. The battlefield park was handed over to the Canadians in perpetuity in 1922 in recognition of their war efforts."
Each year, Canadians observe Veterans' Week from November 5 to 11. Veterans' Week is a time to honour and remember all those who served Canada in times of war, military conflict and peace. Throughout the week, commemorative events and activities will be held in communities across Canada. November 11, is a Canadian Statutory holiday known as Remembrance Day.
Many people throughout our country have family members who have fought in the Canadian Armed Forces in both past and present day wars. I moved to Wood Buffalo in 2009, and was unable to attend Remembrance Day celebrations that year. I was determined not to miss them again this year but was unsure about where Remembrance Day services were being held in our region. I decided to give the local Legion a call and was able to speak with Gail MacDonald who filled me in on how the Wood Buffalo community remembers our fallen soldiers. Gail also informed me that in Wood Buffalo we have only three remaining locals, who served in WWII. During this week our vets have been manning a table in the Peter Pond Mall, their last shift in this regard is Today November 10 from 12 – 4 PM. If you have a free moment this would be a great opportunity to stop in, buy poppies and thank them in person.
The local Royal Canadian Legion Branch No 165 will be hosting the annual Remembrance Day Service this Remembrance Day (Thursday November 11), at Keyano College’s main theatre. The service will start promptly at 9:30 AM with opening hymns and speeches. After an intermission, phase two will in involve the cenotaph service and wreath laying. After the playing of Last Post, two minutes of silence will be observed starting at 11AM. The moments of silence may be observed anywhere, so if you’re unable to attend the service know that you can still participate in this Canadian tradition from wherever you are.
Following the moment of silence there will be a wreath laying service on the main stage. After the wreath laying service there will be a March Past from Composite High school through to the Keyano Parking lot. A March Past is an official march of the various Royal Canadian and Common Wealth forces. Included in the March Past will be the Legion Colour Party, the Legion Pipes and Drums, Army and Air Cadets, RCMP officers, members of the Fort McMurray Fire Department. As a special honour this year, a military escort of twelve soldiers from the Edmonton based PPCLI will be joining our local March Past to honour the 2010 Silver Cross Mother, Angela Boyes and her son Lt. Justin Boyes, who died while serving in Afghanistan in October, 2009.
After the March Past, the Legion will be hosting a free public lunch at the Royal Canadian Legion McMurray Branch #165 Hall, located at 9317 Huggard Street, Fort McMurray.
For more information regarding the services or the lunch, please contact Gail MacDonald at 780.743.2329
For more information on traditions and the history of Canadian Remembrance Day, please visit the Veterans Affairs Canada webpage: www.vac-acc.gc.ca
“Every year on November 11, Canadians pause in a silent moment of remembrance for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict and peace. We honour those who fought for Canada in the First World War (1914-1918), the Second World War (1939-1945), and the Korean War (1950-1953), as well as those who have served since then. More than 1,500,000 Canadians have served our country in this way, and more than 100,000 have died. They gave their lives and their futures so that we may live in peace.”
A Day of Remembrance, Veterans Affairs Canada: http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/