Surviving the wars
Sgt. Hal Evely was born in Carbonear, but relocated to the United States in 1964. He knew there was a war in Vietnam, but was unaware he could be drafted, or “conscripted,” as Evely described it. But he was enlisted.
Evely chose to join the reserves so his obligations would be one weekend a month. But he and fellow troops in his unit were notified on Memorial Day in 1968, they would head to Vietnam.
The idea of going to the Vietnam War was a “death sentence,” said Evely. He lost many comrades on the battlefield, something he said he has not forgotten.
Evely received a bronze medal, one of the highest military honours a person can receive in the United States.
To conclude, Evely made a strong stance against some of the Canadian rights and freedoms being “taken away,” including “Merry Christmas” being replaced with “happy holidays” in some parts of the country and a Halloween party in Ontario was cancelled because a handful of children in a school did not celebrate. He also stated some injured veterans were being discharged from the forces early so they would be ineligible for a pension; calling it unfair and unjust.
Evely concluded by wishing all in attendance a, “Merry Christmas,” something he noted he fought for the right to say.
The male and female choirs at Carbonear Collegiate produced very beautiful and harmonious version of some popular tunes.
The female choir performed a version of “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton, and a multi-instrument version of “21 Guns” by Green Day, highlighted by solos from Kelsey Tuck, Amy Gillingham, Laura Broaders and Rubyanne Whelan.
The male choir performed “Borderline” by Chris de Burgh, featuring solos by Cody Hibbs, Braydon Haynes, Michael White and Matthew Cooper.
During a final slideshow prepared by Erin Jones, choir member Alyssa Broomfield performed a solo of the song “The Cruel War” by Peter, Paul and Mary.
Many cried while watching the horrific and tragic pictures on the big screen.
A live rendition of Last Post and Reveille was played on the trumpet by George Robinson — local volunteer and former music teacher — between the traditional moment of silence. A respectful silence filled the air as students and visitors listened to the sombre sound of the trumpet.
The 589 Carbonear Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron concluded the ceremony with God Save the Queen.
The assembly is one some won’t soon forget — the emotional addresses, the beautiful songs and the delivery of the traditional wreaths under a white cross, draped in a red cloth.
Veterans in attendance proclaimed the necessity to remember who and what provided us with freedom — lest we not forget.
Heart’s Content Mayor Fred Cumby (left) and Harbour Grace Mayor Terry Barnes lay a wreath at Carbonear Collegiate.