A City Remembers Our Past and Respects our Future
THUNDER BAY – The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Remembrance Day in Thunder Bay is a day for reflection and respect. At the Fort William Gardens, a large crowd gathered for an emotional ceremony of Remembrance today, as this year’s Remembrance Day was held on the 100thAnniversary of the Armistice that ended the First World War.
That “War to End all Wars” ended 100 years ago. There are no veterans left from the First World War. The men and women who fought, served and survived are now all at rest.
At Fort William Gardens today, the passing of the torch, a symbolic reminder that “We will Remember Them” was from a 97-year-old World War Two veteran. Second World War Veteran Mo Nelson passed the torch to Master Corporal DesJardins who is currently serving in the Canadian Armed Forces.
The thousands of people in attendance applauded as Nelson made the round at the Gardens before taking up his post to accept the salute of the parade at the end of the Remembrance Day Service.
Every year there are fewer veterans able to attend the Remembrance Day Service at Fort William Gardens. World War Two ended in 1945. That is seventy-four years ago. The average age of World War Two veterans are getting up there very quickly.
The message of Remembrance, however, appears strong.
In Thunder Bay, there are three services. A service at Waverly Park, the service at Fort William Gardens, and a service on Fort William First Nation at Mount McKay.
Around the city, there are reminders of the importance of Thunder Bay, and earlier the cities of Port Arthur and Fort William in contributing to the war efforts throughout our region’s history.
The Naval monument at Prince Arthur’s Landing, the Merchant Marine monument at Kam River Park, the Soldier at City Hall, and the Cenotaph at Waverly Park all mark the respect our community shares with those who have served in the military or worked to protect our freedoms.
There were two Junior Canadian Rangers participating in laying a wreath at this year’s service at the Fort William Gardens. There appears to be a new and growing respect for the Indigenous people in our region. In Toronto, there was a strong Canadian Ranger presence at the Remembrance Day Services from 3 Ranger Patrol Group.
The Bombardier Plant in our city was, during World War Two, manufacturing the Hawker Hurricane, a plane that made a major difference in the Battle of Britain.
Today’s Remembrance Day Service was special. Watching Mr. Mo Nelson put aside his walker and march with the torch showed the special pride that our veterans and their families carry.
Remembrance Day isn’t really all about remembering the past either. It is to inspire all of us that inside each one of us we can do more and do that which is needed to make a special difference.
Lest we forget.
NetNewsLedger proudly live-streams the Remembrance Day Service from Fort William Gardens. Our coverage will also be shared with Tbaytel and Shaw Cable Ten for airing on television. This year’s broadcast online is on Remembrance Day 2018.