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Remembrance Day salutes centenary of Armistice

Story and photos by Sharon Harrison
Sunday’s Remembrance Day ceremonies commemorated the end of the First World War a century ago.

As the sun shone down on the cenotaph in Picton, heads bowed, a few tears quietly and privately were shed and those assembled reflected, respected and remembered as two minutes of silence was observed at the eleventh hour on this eleventh day of this eleventh month of 2018.

Following a service at Picton United Church was a parade to the cenotaph.

As the clock struck 11 o’clock precisely, silence fell upon the large crowd; the chill put aside for a few moments as thoughts went to those who fought, those who were injured and affected and to the many thousands who lost their lives due to war.

For Remembrance Day ceremonies, the use of “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).

Mayor-elect Steve Ferguson, with his wife Mary Malone.

Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis lead the laying of the wreaths, for the Government of Canada, with assistance from Skip Simpson. Sue Smith placed the Province of Ontario wreath for Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith, who attended ceremonies in Trenton this year. Mayor-elect Steve Ferguson and councillor Gord Fox placed a wreath on behalf of The County of Prince Edward. Mayor Robert Quaiff placed a wreath in Wellington.

Wreaths placed were also placed from Veterans’ Affairs Canada and the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, laid by Col. John Inrig. Ed Wright laid a wreath in honour of his dad George Wright, 97, of Picton, one of Prince Edward County’s most distinguished soldiers having served in the The Devil’s Brigade a legendary First Special Service Force.

Wreaths were also place honouring Korean Veterans, the Nursing Sisters of World War Two, Canadian Peacekeepers, 8 Wing, Canadian Legion Branch 78, and by the Prince Edward OPP, Salvation Army, Chamber of Commerce, Prince Edward Masons, the Rotary Club of Picton, Prince Edward Memorial Hospital Foundation, Hospice Prince Edward, Glenwood Cemetery and Girl Guides. Several citizens also placed wreaths in honour of loved ones.

Jim Ives placed a wreath in honour of his son.

Blake Ives

MP Neil Ellis presented the Ives family with the Silver Cross in honour of James Blake Ives who died April 15, 2016. The family (mom Marilyn and dad Jim of Picton and sister Lori) were present to lay a wreath for James. A veteran of Bosnia, Croatia and Afghanistan, Blake was a Retired Master Sniper and Warrant Officer in the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry.

Colleen Hill, of St. Gregory’s Women’s League, had a wreath in the shape of a cross sitting by her feet as she waited for proceedings to start.

“We lay a wreath annually for those parishioners who have passed,” said Hill, adding, she is always particularly interested to read accounts of County veterans’ stories. “I also like the idea of an intimate gathering around a memorial in a small community. It’s most certainly meaningful to me.”

Hill was one of the first to arrive at the cenotaph and watching the large gathering crowd she noted how everyone was so respectful and so well behaved, including the children.

Following the laying of the wreaths was the lament as the parade made its way down Main Street to the Picton Legion Branch 78 on Elks Street with Legion members, Cadets and Girl Guides led by the Bay of Quinte Pipe and Drum Corps. The public was also invited to lunch and enjoy entertainment at the branch.

Officer Cadet Mike Decastris is a training officer with 851 Prince Edward Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron in Picton.

“Every Remembrance Day we have the honour of guarding the cenotaph and taking part in the parade here in Picton,” said Decastris. “We also send a contingent to the Wellington service.

“Being a military member myself, a right force veteran, it means what we stand for. Personally, I have family members that served in every war back to 1812, so I felt it was my part to be part of the military. My daughter is here today, she is the honour guard commander today,” he said.

“As for the cadets themselves, there are some of them that are here because of the military factor. There are certainly some who are here because it’s a good youth organization – it provides some order, some structure and it’s a good place for the them to come and meet new people and learn lots of new things,” said Decastris.

As the sun set, Prince Edward County residents and Canadians across the country heard the Bells of Peace tolling 100 times from several County churches. With each peal, those listening were asked to remember the close to 66,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders at that time, who were killed in the First World War; the 172-thousand wounded and the countless others who suffered invisible, yet painful wounds. More than 650,000 Canadians served.

Soldiers leaving Picton Aug. 29, 1914. Photo by Wm H Smith

At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.

Wreaths in place at Wellington.

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  1. Fred says:

    Difficult to discuss an Iran issue that you describe as “fake news”. Sounds very familiar to a supposed leader to our south .

  2. Steve Staniek says:

    Fred – where did you hear the fake news that Iran wants to annihilate Israel? A Zionist owned and controlled press operating in Canada? No bias there, eh?

  3. Fred says:

    Iran only interested in self defense!! How could anyone believe that with their goal to anhilate Israel. Terrible message after Remberance Day. Sad commentary .

  4. Steve Staniek says:

    Chuck: The word terrorism, (like “hero”) has always been politically subjective, so many definitions evolved, and we tend to use the one that best supports our cultural conditioning.
    For example, the US expanded its definition to mean ANY attacks against the US empire, even defensive ones. Andrew Jackson accused the Seminoles of practicing “terrorism” when they tried to stop his genocidal raids into Florida.
    For the most politically neutral definition, I turn to my Funk and Wagnall’s Standard College Dictionary, College Edition, 1963, which gives this definition for terrorism: “unlawful acts of violence committed in an attempt to overthrow a government.” Iran has never tried to overthrow a western government, but as we know only too well, Washington has sponsored many acts of terrorism against Iran, especially during the brutal reign of the US backed Shah.
    While there are many forms of terrorism, the Canadian definition shows clearly that every nation that used violence to take indigenous lands, so most colonizing nations, are guilty of terrorism to this day. The governments they left behind are equally unlawful because of their criminal beginnings.

  5. Chuck says:

    I believe Iran’s flagrant funding of terrorism and declaration to destroy Israel goes slightly beyond self defense!

  6. Steve Staniek says:

    The enemies of course were not the German people but the Architects of War who continue to control us through our cultural conditioning. If you grew up in a war culture in any nation, you were already programmed for violence and war.
    Why do nations feel compelled to celebrate their violent disasters each year and call them honouorable events?
    We know that Christian Europe was led into countless wars of atrocity, (WWI and WWII) by their leaders, as competing elites tried to dominate each other and their lands over hundreds of years. Under the Christian banner, orchestrated violence has destroyed countless millions of innocent civilian lives. For those unafraid of the truth, Christian genocide is well documented in South Africa, most of the Americas, and parts of the Pacific and Asia. How can ethical people celebrate the destruction of good every year? It doesn’t happen on its own. There are groups among us that continue to grow the toxic war culture by creating fake realities with fake news, to keeps us in constant state of political fear, in order to be mentally and emotionally prepared to make war when the Evil Architects of War call for yet another war, this time against Iran or North Korea who have not raised a hand against western nations except in self defence.

  7. Jack Smith says:

    The photo that shows the soldiers leaving Picton. I wonder if my Uncle was among them. Prayer’s go out to them.

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