Hun­dreds honour WWI sol­diers at cer­e­mony

Guard of Honour - - NEWS - CATHER­INE VILLENEUVE

Hun­dreds of peo­ple braved the rain and gath­ered at the Na­tional War Memo­rial on July 1 to com­mem­o­rate the Bat­tles of the Somme and Beau­mont-Hamel.

The tor­ren­tial down­pour and the wind did not dampen the spir­its of all who came to­gether to re­mem­ber the sac­ri­fice of sol­diers who lost their lives on that sum­mer day in 1916. His­tory tells us that Bri­tish and Com­mon­wealth Forces suf­fered over sixty thou­sand ca­su­al­ties, twenty thou­sand of which were killed or miss­ing i n ac­tion. The Royal New­found­land Reg­i­ment suf­fered cat­a­strophic ca­su­al­ties dur­ing an early morn­ing at­tack at the vil­lage of Beau­mont-Hamel, with nearly the en­tire Reg­i­ment sus­tain­ing ca­su­al­ties within a few min­utes.

Amongst t he dig­ni­taries and De­fence at­tachés in at­ten­dance, the Com­man­dant of CFSU( O), Colonel Richard Goodyear, had the honour of lay­ing a wreath on be­half of the Royal New­found­land Reg­i­ment. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from for­eign coun­tries such as New-Zealand, Aus­tralia, United-King­dom, Ger­many, France and Tur­key were also present.

The Gover­nor Gen­era l ’s Cer­e­mo­nial Guard, the At­lantic Voice Choir of Ot­tawa, and the Shall­away Youth Choir of St. John’s, New­found­land all per­formed at the cer­e­mony, lead­ing the crowd in emo­tional ren­di­tions of Sing You Home and Ode to New­found­land.

The cer­e­mony was a mem­o­rable one. The Na­tional Sen­try Pro­gram Sen­tinels stand­ing tall around the Tomb of the Un­known Sol­dier and the hun­dreds of um­brel­las sur­round­ing the mon­u­ment left a vivid im­age of grat­i­tude on this day of Cana­dian pride and honour.

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