Re­flect­ing on the price of free­dom

The Glengarry News - - News - BY MAR­GARET CALDBICK News Staff

Ev­ery year, the Wil­liamstown and Lan­caster Re­mem­brance cer­e­monies are held on the Sun­day pre­ced­ing Novem­ber 11 to en­sure that every­one can at­tend.

Sun­day, a mild day with over­cast skies and in­ter­mit­tent rain, sev­eral hun­dred peo­ple as­sem­bled at the Wil­liamstown Ceno­taph for the 11 a.m. cer­e­mony, and later, an­other large crowd gath­ered at Lan­caster’s ceno­taph to hon­our and re­mem­ber those who have served in times of war, mil­i­tary con­flict and peace.

The two South Glen­garry cer­e­monies are or­ga­nized by the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion Lan­caster Branch 544 and coor- di­nated by Le­gion Sec­ond Vice Pres­i­dent Pierre Roy.

In his open­ing ad­dress, Mr. Roy de­scribed Canada’s 150th an­niver­sary as also a spe­cial year for the com­mem­o­ra­tion of the coun­try’s mil­i­tary her­itage, mark­ing the 100th an­niver­sary of the Bat­tle of Vimy Ridge, the 75th an­niver­sary of the WWII Dieppe Raid, and the 100th an­niver­sary of Canada’s in­volve­ment in the First World War’s bat­tle of Pass­chen­daele.

“There were many acts of great courage by our sol­diers dur­ing the bat­tle of Pass­chen­daele,” said Mr. Roy. Nine Cana­di­ans earned the Vic­to­ria Cross, the high­est award for mil­i­tary valour, at the de­cid­ing bat­tle. “And of course there were Glen­gar­ri­ans there – as is ev­i­dent by the names in­scribed on this mon­u­ment,” said Mr. Roy nod­ding to the Wil­liamstown Ceno­taph.

“If you visit the Glen­garry Nor’Westers and Loy­al­ist Musuem, you will see on dis­play some of the per­sonal wartime ef­fects of Sgt. Hugh Far­quhar Christie, a res­i­dent of Mart­in­town who was killed at Pass­chen­daele and of his brother Lt. Don­ald Mur­doch Christie who died while in the ser­vice of the Royal Fly­ing Corp. Dur­ing the bat­tle of Pass­chen­daele Sgt. Christie earned the DCM, the sec­ond high­est medal for valour af­ter the Vic­to­ria Cross.”

At the Lan­caster cer­e­mony, spe­cial guest Lt.- Col. Christo­pher Horner, com­man­dant of the Cana­dian Forces School of Aerospace Con­trol Oper­a­tions in Corn­wall, stood in the rain with­out a mic to speak to the SD&G High­landers, air cadets from 253 Lan­caster Claude Nun­ney VC squadron, the South Glen­garry Pipe Band, vet­er­ans, le­gion mem­bers, po­lice and fire ser­vice per­son­nel, and vil­lagers.

“To­day's rainy weather is very fit­ting be­cause it’s a small re­flec­tion of what the sol­diers faced 100 years ago at Pass­chen­daele when the rain turned the bat­tle­field into a sea of mud which still makes the name Pass­chen­daele syn­ony­mous with the wet waste­land many peo­ple pic­ture when they think about the First World War,” said Lt.- Col. Horner.

Mr. Roy turned to the chal­lenges faced by mod­ern- day vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies, say­ing, “Cana­di­ans when en­gaged in the pro­fes­sion of arms have time and again dis­tin­guished them­selves, have brought hon­our and glory to their coun­try, but it al­ways came at a price. All too of­ten some re­turn bro­ken with vis­i­ble wounds, but some­times the wounds are not vis­i­ble but are just as dis­abling,” he re­flected.

“We as cit­i­zens of Canada have an obli­ga­tion to pro­vide them and their fam­i­lies with all the care and sup­port avail­able at our dis­posal. The wel­fare of our mil­i­tary per­son­nel and their fam­i­lies must be­come even more of a na­tional pri­or­ity, one that tran­scends all po­lit­i­cal pri­or­i­ties. There is no other na­tional is­sue that car­ries the same moral obli­ga­tion be­cause no other na­tional is­sue re­quires this level of sac­ri­fice, no­body suf­fers phys­i­cal harm fight­ing for a bet­ter econ­omy or for bet­ter in­fra­struc­ture.”

MAR­GARET CALDBICK PHOTO

COLOUR PARTY: The colour party for the South Glen­garry cer­e­monies was sup­plied by the 253 Claude Nun­ney VC Royal Cana­dian Air Cadet Squadron.

MAR­GARET CALDBICK PHOTO

MAXVILLE RE­MEM­BERS: Lan­caster na­tive Cor­po­ral Justin Roberge of the 5 Cana­dian Mech­a­nized Bri­gade Group (5 CMBG) based at Val­cartier, right, passes a wreath to Alexan­dria Le­gion Branch 423 1st Vice-Pres­i­dent Dave Hrynkiw at the Maxville Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­mony. This is the third year Cor­po­ral Roberge has served as wreath bearer for the cer­e­monies or­ga­nized by Alexan­dria Le­gion Branch 423. He joined the armed forces af­ter en­rolling in the Cana­dian Forces Co-op Pro­gram when he was a stu­dent at Glen­garry Dis­trict High school.

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