Ottawa holds ceremony to remember veterans and fallen soldiers
The bravery and sacrifice of those who served our country were honoured on Nov. 11 as thousands of proud Canadians filled Parliament Hill for the first time in three years. This year, the ceremony coincided with the 101st anniversary of Canada’s adoption of the poppy as a symbol of Remembrance Day.
Led by the Royal Canadian Legion at the National War Memorial, the ceremony began with a Veteran’s march, followed by the National Anthem, two minutes of silence, a 21-gun Salute, and the playing of God Save The King. After a few prayers, the ceremony concluded with the placing of wreaths and the dropping of poppies on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Marked by vintage military aircrafts flying in the sky above and a moving rendition of “In Flanders Fields” by the children’s choir, the ceremony honoured all those who have fallen while defending the rights and freedoms we enjoy today.
Attending his first Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa, Military Police Officer Alex Petruk explained, “There is a balance between the ceremonies being for remembering past conflicts and their historical aspect, through both World War I and World War II, and for remembering the present-day conflicts, like those in Cyprus, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Bosnia, all together in the back of my mind. I have lost friends due to service, and the ceremony allows me to encompass all of their losses.”
“People who join in the military are serving something greater than themselves,” said Petruk.
When asked what Remembrance Day means to him, now-retired Lieutenant Colonel Paul D’Orsonnens explained that the ceremony brings “recognition of our service to the nation, to the Canadian population, and to the government that has sent us to missions overseas, to protect our sovereignty, our economic interest and to ensure stability in difficult regions of the world, where there’s a lot of tension and a lot of violence.”
On Nov. 11, the Ottawa community and beyond came together to remember the fear, the heartbreak and the violence that forms the sacrifice and resilience involved in protecting countries like Canada. Like many that came before them, D’Orsonnens and Petruk showcased their gratitude towards the gathering of Canadians on Parliament Hill.
“I am proud of the people coming to this,” said Petruk.