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
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.