Strat­ford re­mem­bers

A large crowd gath­ers at Strat­ford Ceno­taph for Re­mem­brance Day ser­vice

The Beacon Herald - - FRONT PAGE - JONATHAN JUHA STAFF RE­PORTER

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the tem­per­a­ture in Strat­ford was -4 C, but felt more like -10 C.

But that bit­ing cold didn’t stop hun­dreds of lo­cal res­i­dents from gath­er­ing around the city’s ceno­taph to pay their re­spects to the lo­cal fallen sol­diers and vet­er­ans.

“It is the least we can do,” said Richard Robert­son. “This is noth­ing com­pared to what they had to through to pro­tect our coun­try and our free­dom.”

Sat­ur­day’s cer­e­monies be­gan with a Re­mem­brance Day pa­rade that ar­rived at the Erie Street mon­u­ment at around 10:30 a.m.

By that time, the ceno­taph was al­ready filled with peo­ple of all ages and back­grounds who proudly wore a poppy on their chests.

One of those peo­ple was David Van Schaik, whose par­ents em­i­grated to Canada from Hol­land and were lib­er­ated by Cana­dian forces dur­ing the Sec­ond World War. “I came here to­day to hon­our the Cana­di­ans that freed my par­ents,” he said. With him was Riad Alta ’eh, who em­i­grated to Canada about a year and a half ago from Syria. Van Schaik said this year’s event was Alta’ eh’s first time at­tend­ing a Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­mony. “He’s very in­ter­ested in be­ing part of Cana­dian so­ci­ety, and we have in­vited him to join us for all types of Cana­dian ac­tiv­i­ties and to­day, of course, is one of them,” he said. “And it is a won­der­ful way for him to wit­ness and learn what men and women did for this coun­try.” Avondale United Church min­is­ter Keith Reynolds brought that mes­sage home dur­ing his speech, in which he in­vited at­ten­dees to con­tinue to share the sto­ries of those who have sac­ri­ficed their lives to make of the world a bet­ter place so that more peo­ple can re­mem­ber.

He also asked peo­ple to pay at­ten­tion to what si­lence could tell us and to keep Cana­dian’s vet­er­ans mem­o­ries alive.

“These sto­ries are part of what we re­mem­ber in this sea­son and, par­tic­u­larly, on this day,” he said. “When we re­mem­ber, we af­firm hu­man­ity’s faith in hu­man­ity, and mem­ory helps cast mean­ing upon our en­deav­ours.”

It was a mes­sage Barb Young agreed with.

She said this day was an op­por­tu­nity for she and her eight sib­lings to hon­our the mem­ory of her fa­ther, Len Young, who passed away eight years ago and who fought dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.

“This has al­ways been a very im­por­tant part of our fam­ily,” she said, adding that it amazed her to see how many peo­ple at­tended the event, de­spite the freez­ing tem­per­a­tures.

Her fa­ther, she added, would have loved to see it.

“He would’ve been very happy and very proud,” she said. jjuha@post­media.com Twit­ter.com/JuhaJonathan

PHO­TOS BY JONATHAN JUHA/ THE BEA­CON HER­ALD

The colour guard stands at at­ten­tion in front of the ceno­taph dur­ing the Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­mony in Strat­ford on Sat­ur­day.

A wreath is laid at the ceno­taph dur­ing the Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­mony in Strat­ford on Sat­ur­day.

JONATHAN JUHA/THE

Strat­ford Mayor Dan Mathieson lays a wreath dur­ing Sat­ur­day's Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­mony.

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