Fly­over, can­non salute to mark this year’s Re­mem­brance Day in Elmira

100th an­niver­sary of Vimy Ridge, Canada’s sesqui­cen­ten­nial prompt Le­gion to go the ex­tra mile with Sun­day’s events

The Woolwich Observer - - LIVING HERE - FAISAL ALI

A DAY OF RE­MEM­BRANCE is be­ing held this Sun­day at the ceno­taph in Elmira. This year is es­pe­cially sig­nif­i­cant, mark­ing the 100th an­niver­sary of the battle of Vimy Ridge as well as Canada’s 150th year since Con­fed­er­a­tion. In hon­our of the oc­ca­sions, the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion in Elmira has or­ga­nized a fly­over by three Sec­ond World War-era planes.

“They are World War II Har­vard air­planes,” ex­plained Le­gion mem­ber and pa­rade mar­shal Dawn Marie. “And they will be fly­ing in a ‘missing man’ for­ma­tion, which is [rep­re­sen­ta­tive] of us missing our com­rades who have fallen.” The missing man leaves a po­si­tion in the flight for­ma­tion va­cant to sig­nify the pi­lot or sol­dier who didn’t re­turn home.

“We will also have a can­non salute dur­ing the ser­vice, which is some­thing we’ve never done as well. One of our mem­bers owns a can­non – a small can­non – and it’ll be fired dur­ing the ser­vice to com­mem­o­rate the day as well.”

The ser­vice, which be­gins at 3 p.m., is it­self pre­ceded by a form-up at the Elmira Le­gion, fol­lowed by a pa­rade through the com­mu­nity.

“All of the Le­gion mem­bers, our colour party, our band, our fire­fight­ers, our Su­gar Kings com­mu­nity ser­vice group or com­mu­nity groups, our Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, all gather to­gether there and we formup into a pa­rade and we ac­tu­ally march down.”

Any group can join in the pa­rade, which will also in­clude mem­bers of the Wool­wich Ladies Lions, the Op­ti­mists club, the Ki­wa­nis and the Knights of Colum­bus, said Marie.

The pa­rade will ar­rive at the re­cently re­fur­bished ceno­taph for the ser­vice at 3 p.m.

It’s a large ex­pense, but one Marie says the Le­gion wanted to take on, given the pass­ing of the sig­nif­i­cant an­niver­saries.

“We felt as a com­mu­nity, we needed to pull to­gether and do this,” she ex­plained.

“Be­cause our mis­sion, our sa­cred mis­sion, is re­mem­brance, so the more that we can pull the com­mu­nity to­gether to re­mem­ber, it just hits all of our goals.”

The idea for the fly­over orig­i­nated with fel­low Le­gion mem­ber John Scheeringa, who will be keep­ing in ra­dio con­tact with the pi­lots to co­or­di­nate their flight.

When the event was an­nounced, Scheeringa ex­plained why they de­cided on the fly­over.

“I think it is to add that lit­tle wow fac­tor. Not that you want to make Re­mem­brance Day have a wow fac­tor, but I think for the kids, the younger gen­er­a­tion … my fa­ther was in the ser­vice and I talked to him a lot, but the younger kids don’t have that op­por­tu­nity like I did. So I think the wow fac­tor with some­thing like that is re­ally cru­cial. They will roar and shake the ground when they go over, so it is go­ing to be cool.”

April of this year marked the cen­te­nary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, one of the defin­ing mo­ments in Cana­dian his­tory. The mis­sion to cap­ture the for­ti­fied ridge in south­ern France, ended suc­cess­fully, but at a cost of more than 3,000 Cana­di­ans killed and 7,000 wounded.


Sun­day’s Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­mony in Elmira in­cludes a pa­rade that wends its way to the ceno­taph.

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