A DAY TO RE­MEM­BER

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - FRONT PAGE - ERIN PETROW epetrow@post­media.com twit­ter.com/petr0w

A mem­ber of the RCMP stands guard dur­ing the Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­mony at SaskTel Cen­tre on Sat­ur­day. A crowd of about 7,000 gath­ered for the event hon­our­ing the ser­vice and sac­ri­fices of Canada’s mil­i­tary men and women.

As the fi­nal notes of The Last Post rang out, a haunt­ing si­lence set­tled over SaskTel Cen­tre, where more than 7,000 peo­ple stood to hon­our the sac­ri­fice of Cana­dian sol­diers through the gen­er­a­tions.

John Peters, who served in the navy dur­ing the Cold War, was one of the many vet­er­ans in at­ten­dance.

Re­fer­ring to him­self as a peace­time vet­eran, Peters says he spent 90 per cent of his time de­ployed on two ships, the HMCS Assiniboine and the HMCS Iro­quois, al­low­ing him to see the world while hang­ing out with his friends and fel­low sailors.

Though ten­sions were al­ways run­ning high dur­ing the Cold War, Peters said he and his fel­low ser­vice­men were care­ful not to think about it.

“You didn’t really think about (the dan­gers) much — maybe one of the rea­sons is be­cause, if you thought about it, you might have wor­ried to death,” he re­mem­bers, laugh­ing.

Peters said that, as the num­ber of vet­er­ans of older gen­er­a­tions de­cline, Re­mem­brance Day is be­com­ing more im­por­tant than ever. It’s an op­por­tu­nity to un­der­stand what those who served more re­cently — in places like Bos­nia and Afghanistan — face when they come home.

“These aren’t like your reg­u­lar wars. I can see why some of these guys are com­ing back really messed up. I’ve got a son who has PTSD. I thought he came back OK, and he seems OK most of the time, but ev­ery once in a while ...,” he said, trail­ing off.

Lorelee Fin­nie is a mod­ern day vet­eran who served in a med­i­cal com­pany in 1994. Fin­nie said it’s hard liv­ing with PTSD, but hopes Re­mem­brance Day will lead to more un­der­stand­ing for those suf­fer­ing with the con­di­tion.

“Once you’ve been in, you’re never the same com­ing out,” she said.

Irv­ing Lar­son, a navy vet­eran of the Korean War who served from 1951-53, has fond mem­o­ries of his time over­seas. He re­counted tales of the hi­jinks he and his friends got up to — in­clud­ing a story where he barely made it back to the ship af­ter a night out drink­ing with some Aus­tralian sailors in Tokyo.

Though he looks back on his wartime ex­pe­ri­ence quite fondly, Lar­son is quick to note that he knows he had it bet­ter than those serv­ing in the army.

“We didn’t see the things the poor army guys did,” he said. “They saw stuff that wasn’t even civ­i­lized to talk about.”

At the end of the cer­e­mony, af­ter all the wreaths had been laid and a haunt­ing ren­di­tion of In Flan­ders Fields was sung, more than 1,000 peo­ple marched out of the arena. From the vet­er­ans to the cadets, all are part of Saskatoon’s mil­i­tary com­mu­nity, giv­ing a piece of their lives to pro­tect their coun­try so all Cana­di­ans can live in peace.

My grand­fa­ther, he was part of the war years ago, and I just feel it’s very im­por­tant to re­mem­ber these peo­ple who fought for our coun­try. I en­joy (the cer­e­mony) as well, ac­tu­ally, and have been com­ing for sev­eral years. MAR­I­LYN FAR­RELL Just the free­dom that we live in in Canada, that all the peo­ple who made those sac­ri­fices for us — to be able to have that, I think it’s amaz­ing. That’s why my fam­ily and I come out ev­ery year. DEVIN­DER SAMBHI It’s im­por­tant to cel­e­brate Re­mem­brance Day be­cause the sol­diers died for us. ADRI­ANNA SCOWEN, As a mem­ber of the Brown­ies, Scowen also par­tic­i­pated in the ser­vice, but said her main job would be “pray­ing.”

KAYLE NEIS

KAYLE NEIS

Vet­er­ans from var­i­ous con­flicts through­out the years stood to be hon­oured by the 7,000 peo­ple in at­ten­dance at one of Canada’s largest in­door Re­mem­brance Day ser­vices, held Sat­ur­day at SaskTel Cen­tre.

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