Commemorating the fallen

The Last Post rang loudly throughout the Cenotaph grounds Tuesday morning as hundreds of locals bowed their heads in a moment of silence to recognize the end of the First World War.

Just one block away from the hustle of uptown Waterloo, the grounds were solemn as the Royal Canadian Legion Waterloo branch’s Remembrance Day ceremony honoured lives lost in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the war in Afghanistan.

Gordon Moore of the Legion reminded the public, veterans and active service members that remembering those fallen in battle is just as relevant today as it was 96 years ago when WWI ended.

For Pete and Fiona Lighthall, that sentiment rings true every year.

Fiona’s father fought in both World Wars and flew for the Royal Flying Corps during WWI. Though he’s been gone for nearly 60 years, she still attends Remembrance Day ceremonies to honour him.

“I still get a tear when I see the celebrations,” she said.

Pete also had relatives fight and die in the two World Wars. For him, the ceremonies are “a time to come out and think about what happened and how we can prevent it in the future.”

Many local businesses and politicians presented wreaths at the service, including Kitchener-Waterloo MPP Catherine Fife and Waterloo mayor Brenda Halloran.

Fourth-year history student at Wilfrid Laurier University, Katelyn Simpkins, was just one of many students who ventured away from campus to attend the service.

“Every year I go to a Remembrance Day ceremony,” she said. “These past few summers I’ve been fortunate enough to go to Dieppe two summers ago with Dr. Terry Copp and the Military Centre and last summer I was actually in Normandy for the 70th [anniversary] of D-Day, so I feel like it’s tradition.”

Attending a ceremony is a tradition for many Canadians, however this year it seems more poignant. Moore honoured the two Canadian soldiers who were killed on home soil, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. Many in the crowd were in tears as he commemorated their lives and service.

“I think this year for more Canadians it’s more important to be here,” Simpkins said.

It has been less than one month since the two Canadian soldiers were killed, making this year’s services much more solemn.

 

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