Remember the fallen


(Photo by Cristina Rucchetta)

Lest we forget.

November 11 is approaching, and it will be accompanied by Remembrance Day commemoration events across town, recognizing the sacrifice of the fallen for the country.

When asked if remembrance day still had the same significance as it has had in previous years, Roger Sarty, a history professor at Wilfrid Laurier, replied, “I still think Remembrance Day [is significant] and this shows that there is still much more interest than there was in my lifetime.”

While it is difficult to correctly judge if the significance of this day has diminished in terms of awareness and celebration, the day still rings true to many citizens and as Olaf Heinzel, the public affairs coordinator for the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS), said, “At least once a year, the public can think about what happened in the past, a day where that is their focus and [they] appreciate what they have.”

He continued, “[They can] think of the people that have died that allowed them to have the lifestyle and freedom that they have in this country, that they have now.”

Nov. 11 is a day that signifies the remembrance of the Canadians that have fallen to protect our country. The country also remembers those affected by the fallen, family and friends, who suffered due to their loved ones’ sacrifice.

“I’ve always found that there is a very high level of interest in K-W,” stated Sarty, in terms of Remembrance Day. Not only does he believe that there is interest on this specific day, but interest in general for remembering the fallen.

Sarty went on to talk about how moved he was by the dedication to the veterans at the park at King and Hazel, and the erection of the special statue. “[This was] largely a Laurier initiative and one that got an awful lot of community support.”

Community outreach is something that is important to the WRPS and they make sure to show their support on this day. Officers will attend ceremonies at different locations, and although the focus is on Nov. 11, Heinzel pointed out that “it’s something that every member thinks about throughout the year, it isn’t just on Remembrance Day.”

He concluded with some advice, when asked about how important this day is for the younger generation.

“If for no other day of the year, if they take some time on Nov. 11, specifically at 11 a.m., to take a moment of silence and reflect on their country and were we came from,” Heinzel suggested.

Branch 530, The Royal Ontario Legion that is located in Waterloo, was unavailable for comment. However, on Friday they are hosting a parade that will leave the Regina Street Hall at ten o’clock in the morning and march to the Waterloo cenotaph for a 10:15 a.m. ceremony. The parade will continue along King and Princess Streets, featuring soldiers dresses in Second World War-era uniforms and a military band. The WRPS are expected to participate in this event.  Community members are welcome to attend.

Laurier traditionally hosts a Remembrance celebration, and as Sarty mentioned, “The Laurier Remembrance Day celebrations in the concourse are among the most remarkable I’ve seen anywhere.” There are other events planned region-wide.

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