THUNDER BAY – The number of World War Two and Korean War veterans may be smaller, but the warm enthusiasm and celebration in recognition of what they have done ran through loud and clear at Fort William Gardens on Friday, as a large crowd at Fort William Gardens helped veterans and their families remember those who have served.
Remembrance Day is a solemn time, but also a time for reflection. Today, at Fort William Gardens, as the veterans were Taking the Salute and receiving a resounding volley of applause from the residents, I reflected on the tasks that we, as a country have asked of our soldiers. At the Somme, asking soldiers to go “Over the top”, and seeing thousands of Canadians killed or wounded. At Vimy Ridge where our soldiers proved themselves as solid battle proven warriors. At Dieppe, where our soldiers were killed or captured in numbers that today are incomprehensible.
Everything we have asked of our troops, they have done. Those who have returned from war, from peace-keeping, and from service all share in what should be from all of us, a special debt of gratitude. Canadian soldiers, and now veterans have always done the heavy lifting. That goes on today. Our soldiers have had the hard work in Afghanistan.
It is encouraging that there were also a good number of young people in the stands at Fort William Gardens. Also considering how by noon, the wind had whipped up, and snow had started falling, the wisdom of the indoor services make sense. As time marches on, those brave soldiers who stormed ashore the Nazi German ‘Fortress Europa’ have aged too, the warmer conditions and wind free day helps many in their remembrance.
To several of the veterans yesterday, including the 14 American veterans who travelled to Thunder Bay, we all owe a debt of thanks. We, and future generations always will.
We will never forget!
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