The first round of cannon fire broke the quiet and solemn silence prior to the start of this past Monday’s Remembrance Day ceremony held at the National Field of Honour in Pointe Claire.
Followed by a stirring rendition of our national anthem by the 438th Air Force Band, hundreds of West Islanders of all ages had come to the cenotaph to honour the sacrifices made by members of our military.
Retired Brigadier General Gaston Cote, President of the Quebec Last Post Fund, spoke to the assembled about the cooler temperature that morning and “this minor cold today is nothing compared to what our soldiers went through, fighting for months in muddy trenches, in the rain and fog, with rats and mutilated bodies all around them.
“We are a pacifist country that has always answered the call to help those in need,” Cote said. “It is important to keep the memory alive of all of those who served to defend our country.”
Civilian Claude Lesage of Giant Factories Inc. was the guest of honour and told attendees “we owe a great deal to our military who protected our freedoms, qualities and values.
“Our veterans merit our appreciation and we need to keep the memory alive of those who gave all.”
Reverend Sylvain d’Heureux asked those who had come to honour the men and women of our Armed Forces to “think about all of our veterans but especially our new veterans, who we sometimes forget about as we reflect on their ultimate sacrifice.”
The cannon fired twice again, at the beginning and ending of the two minute silent tribute to those that have fallen as well as thinking of the 22,000 souls buried in the National Field of Honour. The Last Post was played and the soldiers in attendance saluted during Reveille.
During the laying of the wreathes, dignitaries including Lac St.Louis MP Francis Scarpaleggia and Pointe Claire Mayor John Belvedere were escorted by members of the Iberville Squadron of the St. Jean Royal Military College.