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County communities honour veterans on snowy Remembrance Day

Story and photos by Sharon Harrison
Remembrance Day services were held throughout Prince Edward County Monday – in Picton, Consecon and Wellington.

Hundreds turned out as service men and women, veterans, residents, families and community members came together on a cold, snowy day.

Royal Canadian Legion members of Wellington Branch 160, local school children, Prince Edward County mayor Steven Ferguson, and Wellington councillor Mike Harper joined many at a service at Wellington United Church.

Legion members paraded to the cenotaph in Wellington park, where the Remembrance ceremony began with the singing of the national anthem.

The Last Post, played by a bugler, was followed by two minutes of silence and the piper’s Lament followed.

For Remembrance Day ceremonies and military funerals, the use of the bugle call, the “Last Post” and “Reveille” (Rouse) is used to draw the symbolic association between the soldier’s last duty of “sitting sentry” (death) and his “rising” above his mortal duties (reveille). The Last Post symbolizes the duty of the dead is over and they can rest in peace.

A prayer of remembrance followed, led by Rev. Joyce Blackburn, of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Wellington.

“Remembrance Day 2019 is the 101st anniversary of the Armistice that ended the First World War, which holds a special place in the hearts of many Canadians, and for the first time in its history Canada fought,” said Rev. Blackburn.

“The war took a momentous toll on relatively young nations, and unfortunately, of 424,000 Canadians who served overseas, nearly 61,000 were killed, and another 172,000 were wounded. Many more returned home forever broken,” she said.

As flurries filled the air, and honking geese flew low overhead, the laying of the wreaths was led by legion member Robert Buchanan. The wreath laying began with official, then public wreaths.

Wreaths were placed by representatives from MP Neil Ellis’s office on behalf of the federal government, and by a representative of MPP Todd Smith’s office, on behalf of the province. Mayor Ferguson placed the wreath on behalf of the municipality.

Among the many wreaths placed were those from 8 Wing Trenton, Merchant Navy, Community Care for Seniors, Ernie Margetson, on behalf of World War II veteran Charles Ernest Margetson, Elks Club of Wellington, Wellington on the Lake, CML Snider Elementary School, Wellington Dukes and Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital.

Buchanan read a long list of individuals and businesses who placed wreaths in memory of those who served.

Veteran Randy Stewart, of Fort Erie, attended Wellington’s Remembrance Day service with family.

Randy Stewart was visiting with family from Fort Erie and noted both his grandfathers served, one in the First World War and one in the Second World War.

“It’s kind of neat to go to different places to see how they do things for Remembrance Day because we have been to very many different locations,” said Stewart.

He served for 25 years, retiring as a warrant officer, having completed four tours: two in Cyprus, one in Bosnia and one in Rwanda.

“They paved the way for us to live in a free society,” said Stewart, referring to his grandfathers’ service. “That’s basically the most important thing about Remembrance Day, even though I have served and both my kids have served,” he said.

Stewart notes that he retired just prior to Afghanistan, but said his son did a tour in Afghanistan for seven months, and his daughter is in the military police, and attended the day’s service.

“We look at our opportunity here to come back and reflect on exactly all the stuff that’s been accomplished in this country, that’s basically how I look at Remembrance Day.”

“And the nice thing about it, everybody heads back to the Legion, and it gives you an opportunity to speak to some of the other vets which is really neat,” he adds.

The ceremony concluded with a benediction read by Rev. Blackburn, and the singing of God Save the Queen.

“What we are here for is to remember our veterans and the sacrifices they have made, and those of us that survived, the sacrifices we made and make on a regular basis,” added Buchanan.

This year for the first time, the Wellington Recreation Committee opened up the Wellington Town Hall to the public, before and after the ceremony, as a place to find a seat and warm-up, as well as having access to bathrooms. They also provided refreshments at no charge for those looking for a hot drink and a tasty treat.

After the ceremony, the Wellington Branch Legion welcomed everbody for a luncheon of soup, sandwiches and refreshments.

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  1. Elizabeth Globe says:

    It was a beautiful ceremony.

  2. Steve Ferguson says:

    Sue, please pass on to Sharon that her coverage of today’s ceremony in Wellington is terrific. Thx S

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