Saturday, November 12, 2011

An Act of Remembrance

This was the first year that the Remembrance Day service was held in the field house at MacDonald Island.  It has been traditionally held in the Keyano theatre. With it being down at MacDonald Island the attendance of the service effectively doubled with people coming together to celebrate, honour and remember.  I think it may have been more than that as I looked up to see people on the second level of the facility.  This year was chalk full of interesting numbers as it turns out.  You have heard of the eleventh hour and the courage that people find there, and this year on November 11th of 2011 over 1300 people found the fortitude to come to a service as a reminder of the foundation of courage on which Canada rests. The passing of time can make "remembrance" increasingly difficult as we fill our lives with the act of living. However coming together in an event such as this we can pause to pay homage to the achievements and sacrifices made by those that served and continue to serve Canada in times of war, peace, armed conflict and to promote an understanding of the significance of these efforts.

Photo by Matt Youens

Phase 1 of the Remembrance Day service was complete with O'Canada, March of Colours, and messages from the various stage guests.  As I sat in the audience listening to words of our leaders from both community and government I was struck by a reoccurring theme.  To honour what these women and men have fought for we need to be aware that it is more than the act itself and understand the reason why there was action in the first place. As a Country.....As a Province....  As a Municipality... As a Community... we have prospered because we have citizens who are willing to stand up and answer the call to serve in hours of need in ways both large and small. We see it in the soldier that has laid down their life in the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and way of life.  We see it in the Canadian citizen who has enlisted in a life of service to our Province to find a better way of life for all Albertans.  We see it in a woman I have the utmost respect for, who through her dedicated service and compassion for the citizens of Wood Buffalo has helped make this community a place that all residents are proud to call home. We see it in the loving eyes of  a parent as they look upon their child hoping for the best possible future, wrapping them in the protection of love and dedicating their life to improving the community for the benefit of their entire family. All actions based in a belief that we have a duty to others and stand accountable for our actions for lives more than our own.

After a break we begin Phase II, the cenotaph service.  This is the part of the service where I have the honour  to lay a wreath on behalf of Kinette Club of Fort McMurray.  The Pipers Lament and Reveille set the mood for what we as a community are about to do. It begins with the stage guests laying their wreaths followed by all those who have purchased wreaths coming forward to honour our women and men who have and continue to serve our Country in their unyielding dedication and sacrifice. Canadian soldiers are our sisters, brothers, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters.  They come in every possible type, as varied a group as any Canadian city or town.Some families wait and worry in silence for the safe return of their loved one from their misson, while other families have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our Country. It is for this reason we have come together to lay wreaths in our community's act of Remembrance.This is the reason we wear a poppy.  This is the reason we cannot forget.

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