Saturday, 14 November 2009

Lest we forget....

Right place, right time.

Since I moved back to Calgary, Remembrance Day has usually been pretty grim, weather-wise: this year was a pleasant exception. While the temperature was a bit on the nippy side, it was sunny, and the breeze held off for the morning ceremony down at the cenotaph in Central Memorial Park here in Calgary.

We have three major ceremonies here: one inside at the Jubilee Auditorium, one outside at the Military Museums (that always attracts a huge crowd, estimated this year at 12,000), and the more intimate one at the cenotaph. Not being one for crowds at the best of times, and especially not being keen at stuffing myself into a building with a lot of germs, I made the obvious choice.

A wreath awaits

One thing that surprised me about the crowd was the number of children in attendance, like the Cubs and Scouts waiting to place their wreath

Learning early

and so many who gently placed their poppy on the cenotaph after the ceremony.

Sign of the trinity

Although there was no formal ceremony, a private donor provided the money to create 506 crosses, each labelled with the name, rank/unit, and date of death, of all the soldiers who called Calgary "home" but who were killed in action during the First and Second World Wars, Korea, and Afghanistan. It too was a busy place: the new normal since we entered the soi-disant "war on terrorism."

For much of my adult life, attendance at Remembrance Day ceremonies had been declining, but it is now becoming important (if not verging on popular) to pass on the stories of wars past.

Sadly, our species still feels the need to repeat them.

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