Stephen Uhler/Pembroke Daily Observer/Postmedia Network The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 72 colour party stands ready as participants in Pembroke's Remembrance Day ceremony assemble. Large crowds braved the frigid temperatures to take time to honour the sacrifices of Canada's military.
Pembroke's citizens joined their fellow Canadians in taking the time to remember.
Bright skies and chilly temperatures greeted the hundreds of people of all ages who gathered at the city's cenotaph Saturday morning to observe Remembrance Day ceremonies, held to commemorate Canada's military sacrifices past and present.
The crowd watched members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 72 who, led by the Legion Colour Party, Pembroke Legion Community Band and the Branch 72 Stuart Taylor Family Pipe Band, made the trip up from the Pembroke Armoury to assemble at the monument. They were accompanied by troops from Garrison Petawawa, as well as members of both 2677 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps and 638 Algonquin Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron, emergency services workers and others.
After Lt. Kath Walker of the Salvation Army led the assembly in prayer and a scripture reading, Stan Halliday, Branch 72 president, asked everyone on hand to pause for a few moments to think reverently of those who laid down their lives for their Sovereign and country.
“Their sacrifice will ever inspire us to labour on, to the end that those who survived and need our aid may be assured of assistance and the country for which they died may ever be worthy of the sacrifice they made,” he said.
Gord Tapp, director of the Legion Band, played The Last Post on his trumpet, which, accompanied by a volley of fire from a 105 mm howitzer operated by members of 42nd Field Regiment, marked the beginning of two minutes of silence in honour of the dead. Piper Hugh Briand played the lament, after which a second volley indicated the end of the silence.
Halliday then spoke on how the red poppy of Flanders has been immortalized as an emblem of sacrifice and remembrance for honouring the thousands who laid down their lives for those ideals Canadians cherish.
“The poppy calls upon us to remember not only those who died, but also those who are left dependent, and those who still suffer from honourable wounds and disabilities," he said. "The poppy challenges us to serve in peace as in war, to help those who need our protection."
After this, accompanied by the music played by the Legion band, the laying of wreaths commenced, as groups, organizations and individuals brought forward their tributes to Canada's fallen, laying them gently at the foot of the stone cenotaph.
Halliday concluded the service by stating “may we ever strive to promote unity and the spirit of comradeship, never forgetting the solemn obligations we have assumed as members of The Royal Canadian Legion.”
“Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, lest we forget, lest we forget,” he said.
Once the ceremony ended, the crowds first applauded the soldiers and others assembled as they marched away from the cenotaph, then began to disperse. Many members of the public came forward to laying their poppies on the monument's steps, or fixing them to the wreaths and crosses placed there.