Hon­our­ing their sac­ri­fice

Ban­ners dis­played in down­town Strat­ford pay trib­ute to the lo­cal vet­er­ans of the First World War


One-hun­dred years ago this Sun­day, the guns fell silent in Europe mark­ing the end to the First World War.

To com­mem­o­rate the oc­ca­sion and to hon­our those who fought and died in the trenches, a few spe­cial trib­utes have been added to this year’s Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­mony.

As a way to re­mem­ber the sol­diers who fought in the First World War, Strat­ford res­i­dent and singer­song­writer Loreena McKen­nitt and her staff led the way in hang­ing 12 large ban­ners through­out down­town Strat­ford dis­play­ing the pho­tos and names of vet­er­ans who fought in the First and Sec­ond World Wars.

Speak­ing to the Bea­con Her­ald while on tour in South Amer­ica, McKen­nitt said she orig­i­nally had the idea when she saw sim­i­lar ban­ners hang­ing in towns in France com­mem­o­rat­ing last year’s 100th an­niver­sary of the Bat­tle of Vimy Ridge. Upon her re­turn to Canada, McKen­nitt’s staff and Strat­ford Royal Cana­dian Le­gion mem­bers reached out to John Kast­ner at the Strat­ford Perth Mu­seum for help re­search­ing and se­lect­ing the vet­er­ans who would be fea­tured in the ban­ner ini­tia­tive’s first year.

“Some­times we need vis­ual reminders of things, of events, and in this par­tic­u­lar case, re­ally putting names to peo­ple who did some­thing, who fought in the First World War,” McKen­nitt said.

“It was the col­lec­tive feel­ing that we wanted to im­i­tate those (ban­ners) in Strat­ford ... and this is just the be­gin­ning. We’re hop­ing that, be­cause there’s, I think, about 100 pos­si­ble lo­ca­tions around the city that one can put ban­ners, over the com­ing years we can con­tinue to add on to this list of sol­diers.”

The ban­ners them­selves were de­signed by Heidi Holdsworth of Creative Feats and were hung by Lange Bros. Tree Ser­vice and Stump Re­moval, both of which do­nated their ser­vices free of charge.

The sec­ond spe­cial trib­ute this year will take place at 5:03 p.m. Sun­day. As the sun sets on Re­mem­brance Day, churches in cities and towns across Canada will ring their bells 100 times to mark the 100th an­niver­sary as part of the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion’s Bells of Peace ini­tia­tive. In Strat­ford, lo­cal churches will par­tic­i­pate in the bell ring­ing, which will con­clude with a piper play­ing at the Strat­ford ceno­taph.

“It should draw a crowd down at the ceno­taph again be­cause you’re go­ing to be able to hear the bells from St. Joe’s, St. James’ Angli­can, Knox Pres­by­te­rian is geared up to ring, and St. Pauls Angli­can – they’re in on the bell ring­ing too,” said Dale Bast, pres­i­dent of the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion Branch 8 in Strat­ford. At Knox, Bast said Jeff Orr, whose great-great un­cle, Henry Orr, was killed at the Bat­tle of Lens in France, will be ring­ing the bells 100 times with his son. Sim­i­larly, in other churches in Strat­ford and across Canada, peo­ple with con­nec­tions to First World War vet­er­ans will also be ring­ing the bells.

Some­times we need vis­ual reminders of things, of events, and in this par­tic­u­lar case, re­ally putting names to peo­ple who did some­thing, who fought in the First World War.” Loreena McKen­nitt

As for this year’s Sun­day morn­ing cer­e­mony, McKen­nitt and her team have been work­ing to cre­ate a Strat­ford Re­mem­brance Day man­ual with Sec­ond World War vet­eran Art Boon, who has, along with his fam­ily, or­ga­nized the an­nual cer­e­mony in Strat­ford for as long as any­one can re­mem­ber.

McKen­nitt said she orig­i­nally ap­proached Boone, who turns 94 on Mon­day, to see if he would be in­ter­ested in cre­at­ing a tran­si­tion plan for the yearly or­ga­ni­za­tion of the Strat­ford cer­e­mony.

“He has an amaz­ing mind, but still I thought it’s prob­a­bly weigh­ing on his mind and so my­self, along with Rev. Lorne Mitchell from St. James’, who is the le­gion’s padre, we had some chats with Art and said, if Art would like, we would be able to help cre­ate a tran­si­tion plan or process. My team has a fair fa­mil­iar­ity with mount­ing big events, and I thought if we can help mount it this year and learn re­ally closely all the key in­gre­di­ents with Art, it would also make sense to ren­der all of this knowl­edge into a man­ual so that in fu­ture years it would help oth­ers be able to take this on,” McKen­nitt said.

As the Strat­ford le­gion moved from its for­mer lo­ca­tion on Erie Street ear­lier this year, Sun­day’s Re­mem­brance cer­e­mony will be­gin at 10:30 a.m. with the Colour Pa­rade march­ing from the Strat­ford Ar­moury on Water­loo Street, up to Cobourg Street, and over to the ceno­taph. Once the pro­ces­sion is in place, McKen­nitt, who also serves as an hon­orary colonel for the Royal Cana­dian Air Force, will sing O’ Canada.

Fol­low­ing the sing­ing of O God Our Help In Ages Past and a scrip­ture read­ing by Archdea­con John Spencer, McKen­nitt will lead the Call to Re­mem­brance and Mitchell will read out the hon­our roll of vet­er­ans who have died over the past year. At 10:59 a.m., bu­gler Robert Pope will play the Last Post, fol­lowed by a mo­ment of si­lence at 11 a.m. Af­ter Pope plays Rouse, the Strat­ford Po­lice Band will play Lament, and Mitchell will lead the me­mo­rial prayer and bene­dic­tion. Those present will then be in­vited to sing Faith of Our Fa­thers be­fore Boon will lead the plac­ing of the wreaths.

The cer­e­mony will con­clude with per­for­mances by the Strat­ford Con­cert Band, the Strat­ford Po­lice Ser­vices Band, and the Strat­ford Mid­dle Years School Cho­rus, as well as McKen­nitt sing­ing God Save the Queen be­fore the Colour Pa­rade marches back to the Ar­moury.

Post-cer­e­mony re­cep­tions will be held first at the Army, Navy and Air­force Club, and then at the le­gion start­ing at 1:30 p.m., and fi­nally at the Ar­moury start­ing at 3 p.m.


Strat­ford le­gion pres­i­dent Dale Bast and vice-pres­i­dent and Poppy Cam­paign chair Ken Al­bert hang a Re­mem­brance Day ban­ner in the Le­gion Hall Thurs­day in prepa­ra­tion for Sun­day's cer­e­mony.

Twelve ban­ners have been hung through Strat­ford's city cen­tre this year to com­mem­o­rate the 100th an­niver­sary of the end of the First World War. Each of the ban­ners dis­play pic­tures of area res­i­dents who fought in ei­ther the First or Sec­ond World War.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.