The Hay River Legion held a small Remembrance Day service in its upstairs hall on Nov. 11 featuring veterans, peace officers, first responders and other dignitaries from the community.

The event was held by invite only due to Covid-19 indoor gathering restrictions ordered by the chief public health officer. The hour-plus event was live-streamed through the Legion’s Facebook page for others to watch.

Officiated by Rev. Francis Delaplain, the service featured the traditional Last Post, two minutes of silence, Lament and Reveille as well as a dedication and laying of wreaths by community organizations.

Ken Comeau, among the notable speakers, thanked all military service people for past sacrifices and continued commitment to keeping Canadians safe.

“All gave some, some gave all,” he said. “We hope and we pray that the horrific devastation of war and suffering of the innocent and helpless will not also reach our shores.”

Comeau, a Canadian Armed Forces veteran, gave a nod to Canada’s military history and his own family’s contributions to battles afar during the 20th Century.

He also acknowledged the work of civilian first responders like the RCMP, firefighters, medics, nurses, doctors and health-care workers in combating Covid-19, as well as Canada’s sacrifices in the war in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2011.

“Over the 10 years of Canada’s commitment, 40,000 armed forces men and women were deployed. Thousands were wounded physically and psychologically,” said Comeau. “Close to 200 veterans over the 10 years committed suicide and their suffering was extended beyond their tour of duty.”

He thanked the Indigenous code breakers who used their first language to communicate secretly and thereby helped the Allies to triumph in World War II combat.

This year also marked the 100th year of the poppy as an emblem of remembrance of the war dead.

Vince McKay, president of the Hay River Legion, said his branch continues to maintain the tradition to support veterans, service people, Legion members and the community.

”The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 250 has raised over $17,000 for local veterans because of community members donating when purchasing a poppy,” said McKay. “This money is held in trust by Branch 250 and when veterans apply, we’re able to use this money to provide them support.”

Other featured speakers and dignitaries included Coun. Brian Willows, on behalf of the Town of Hay River; MLA for Hay River North R.J. Simpson; and Kaiah Carter, who read the poem In Flanders Fields.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa.. Simon can be reached at (867)...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.