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The Torch be Yours to Hold It High


Residents across the Valley honoured those who paid the ultimate price serving our country, as well as, paid respects to those who fought, and are fighting, as a number of Remembrance Day services were held last Sunday (Nov. 11).
Prior to the service in Swan River, a parade - featuring RCMP members, Cadets, Swan River Fire Department and community members - marched from the Veterans Community Hall to the Cenotaph near Taylor School to lay three wreaths - to honour the Air Force, Navy, and Army.
Despite the cool and windy morning, the Veterans Community Hall was filled to capacity for the service, which started just a few minutes before 11 a.m.
Royal Canadian Legion (RCL) Branch No. 39 member Cliff Gussie opened the ceremony by requesting to March on the Colours. O Canada was sang before trumpeter Julie Kooistra performed the Last Post, followed by a minute of silence.
After the Deposit of Colours, those in attendance observed nearly 40 wreaths laid by Veterans, local government members, RCMP, the fire department, service clubs, churches, school groups, and family honouring their relatives who fought.
Pastor Bob Lewis led this year’s service, paying respect to the one hundredth anniversary of the end of the First World War. He opened with the hymn For The Faithful Who Have Answered. The Taylor School Choir then performed a song tributing Flanders Fields.
“On this Remembrance Day we have arrived at that unique anniversary that causes us to reflect back to help us to recognize more clearly,” said Lewis. “Today is the 100th anniversary of that moment on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when the guns fell silent and what was called World War One ended in an armistice.
“Close to 61,000 Canadians were killed during that war and another 172,000 were wounded. World War One was the first war where missing became a statistical term.”
Lewis reflected on his time spent chaperoning the local Royal Canadian Air Cadets number 519 this past March as they toured important Canadian World War One and Two sights in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France.
“We visited the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing and we attended a last post ceremony that takes place there at 8 p.m. of every night of every year,” he said. “We visited many Canadian war cemeteries and what we noticed at all of them is how they are immaculately well kept and how these cemeteries are honoured with surrounding hedges, trees and flowers all cared for by the people of surrounding towns cities and farms. We also went to Vimmy Ridge to see our monument. Inscribed on the outside wall of the monument are the names of the 11,285 Canadians killed in France whose final resting place is unknown.
“It expresses a range of emotions and hopes but the overall affect is that duty of human courage, compassion, and even grief, will over come the ugliness of violence, terrorists, and war.
“If the people who care for our Canadian war cemeteries and the people who worked together to create our memorial and those poppies have something to tell us, it’s that the torch has also been passed onto you and me and we may fight for what is beautiful in life,” Lewis concluded.
A prayer of remembrance led a never before seen torch ceremony that saw members of our Valley who have had family serve, or who have served themselves, pass a torch amongst them in order of their service. There wasn’t a dry eye in the hall as the family of soldiers dating back to World War I, to the current members still fighting today, exchanged the torch with honour for themselves and each other. The torch was then laid at the front of the stage awaiting the next generation to one day pick it up and continue to remember those who fought for our country’s freedom.
Closing off the ceremony was the singing of God Save The Queen, and then the service concluded, as it always has, with the march off of the colours.
And, until the next Remembrance Day, we will continue to remember them.

Jakki Lumax