‘I see sacrifice:’ community gathers to remember the fallen at Decoration Day

Members of Prince Albert’s three cadet corps place Canadian flags in front of graves belonging to some of the city’s deceased war veterans during Decoration Day at South Hill Cemetery. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Despite cold weather, gusts of wind, and rain that stopped and started throughout the ceremony, veterans, cadets and their families were out in force for an annual spring tradition.

The bad conditions had attendees ducking for shelter at the annual Decoration Day ceremony at the South Hill Cemetery. Despite that, they were all still happy to be there.

“Standing here in a little bit of rain is nothing compared to what some of these people had to do,” said Prince Albert ANAVETS president Alayne Lundy while pointing to the rows of graves marked with Canada flags. “We got a little wet and a little cold, but we can go and warm up.”

Representatives from the police, fire and ambulance were all on hand, as were provincial and municipal dignitaries. They watched as members of Prince Albert’s three cadet corps placed a small Canadian flag at each veteran’s grave during a short ceremony.

The day took on added significance with Canada remembering D-Day’s 75th anniversary just last week.

“(D-Day veterans) need to know that every day, we recognize what they’ve done for us,” Lundy said. “(It’s) their sacrifices, and, for those that returned, the horrors that they had to live with. We as Canadians need to know what amazing people we had representing us.”

Army cadet Brahm Dies (left) plants a Canadian flag in front of a veteran’s grave during while Air Cadet Roman Zaskovets (right) stands at attention during Decoration Day ceremonies at the South Hill Cemetery. — Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

“If you walk through those graves, look at some of the ages,” added ANAVETS first vice-president Bob Mooney. “They’re all so young.”

With most Second World War veterans being well into their 90s, Mooney and Lundy said it’s important to help the next generation understand why days like Decoration Day are so important.

Part of that comes through organizations like the cadet groups, who Lundy called a “great group to work with.”

On day like Decoration Day, however, she said it’s easy to remember those who sacrificed. Their names are marked on headstones all across South Hill Cemetery and Memorial Gardens.

“I see sacrifice,” Lundy said as the ceremony ended and the veterans in attendance began departing. “Sometimes it’s the ultimate sacrifice, so that those of us here today can lives the lives that we live.”