The Remembrance Day service at the Cenotaph in Prince Albert on Friday was well attended despite the cold conditions.
The service began with the playing of Oh Canada followed by the playing of the Reveille, a moment of silence, the Last Post and the Act of Remembrance.
Brenda Cripps of the Legion was thankful for the crowd that packed the Memorial Square.
“It was a good crowd, thank God there was no wind,” Cripps said.
“We had the option of going into another building but this is Memorial Square, it’s our veterans and that means a lot to them,” she added.
This was the second year with the Memorial Garden served as the location as opposed to the Prince Albert Armoury.
The outdoor service reminded Cripps of another service in bad weather in the past.
“We have had other services here where there has been rain and a lot of our Second World War vets are still with us and Mr. Wilson was here and the weather was getting ugly and it was going to start to rain and that and someone in the crowd said maybe we should go down to the Legion in case it starts to rain,” Cripps said.
“Mr. Wilson stood up and he said we didn’t stop fighting because it was raining over there, we are not going to stop the service now.”
Cripps said that the memory of wars is starting to fade in people and gave the example of the Korean War.
The Legion is trying to recognize other veterans including those from Afghanistan through an expansion of the Memorial Square that is coming in the near future.
“On our Afghan veterans and that I approached City Hall and got approval and we are putting up thanks to City Hall the monuments and that and it is getting put up and that is going to be done in June,” she said.
Ramsey Bellisle who served as Parade Commander on Friday is assisting in finding who to invite and the parade for when it officially opens.
Seeing the Korean War as part of this is special too according to Cripps.
“When it made it in the paper about Korea and one monument is going to recognize the years of service in Korea and one of the girls that works here come in and she says my grandpa he was sitting there looking at the paper and he was crying he said that they haven’t forgot us Korean war vets,” she said.
Before the ceremony officially began there was a smudging ceremony performed by Mahekan Ahenakew, an Afghanistan veteran and knowledge keeper with Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation.
The Padres for the service were Pastor Sheldon Hirschfeld of the Open Door Community Church of the Nazarene and Ahenakew.
City Hall and Legion organizers arranged to have the Reveille played on speakers from the Prince Albert Arts Centre following the two minutes of silence. The Last Post, Oh Canada and God Save The King were also played on speakers from the arts centre.
Grant Uraski MC’d the event and read the Act of Remembrance and the Honour Roll of veterans from Prince Albert and area who have passed away in the year since last Remembrance Day.
Laying of Wreaths began with Memorial Cross Mother, represented by Lise Malenfant, Federal Government, Provincial Government represented by MLA Alana Ross, followed by the Royal Canadian Legion, ANAVETs, North Saskatchewan Regiment, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, City of Prince Albert represented by Mayor Greg Dionne, Prince Albert Police Service, Prince Albert Fire Department, Parkland Ambulance, Royal Canadian Sea Cadets, Royal Canadian Air Cadets and Army Cadets of Canada.
This was followed by anyone who wanted to lay a wreath who was present but had not been called forward.
A number of other wreaths were laid in advance of the service by various organizations and individuals and Ursaki recognized their contribution.
All the people in attendance meant a lot to Cripps, whose father was a World War II veteran, sister served for 25 years in the Gulf War and she was in the reserves for 12 years.
“This with our veterans and Remembrance Day if it hadn’t had been for them where would we be today,” she said.
“I don’t care if it was 40 below, we would be out here for our veterans.”
She was happy to see people come out for Remembrance Day.
“It’s a shame Ed Laird wanted to come in but with the cold and stuff, he will soon be 100. We don’t have too many Second World War vets left. It’s nice to be able to remember them. When we leave here then I go down to the cemetery where my dad is and I know a lot of families that are like that,”
Hirschfeld closed with remarks on the importance of the day and a prayer by Ahenakew in Cree before the colours were marched off.
“Thank God I was one of the lucky ones my dad came home,” she said.