The Ben Nevis Pipe Band always adds so much to Remembrance Day ceremonies, and the short concert they present afterwards is such a delight.
The Wetaskiwin Remembrance Day Ceremony included some special variations and additions to the usual observance. One of these was a beautiful little girl, Youth Representative Sadi-Jean Pitcher, a Grade Six student at Norwood School, who rang a bell following the reading of each name of a Legion member who had passed away in the past year. This appropriately added a solemn beauty to this portion of the program.
Our Member of Parliament, Blaine Calkins, in apologizing for not being present last year, also shared his experiences in a Canadian Delegation to Korea on two occasions during the past year. Last Remembrance Day, he was at a service at the Canadian Monument in Korea; a service held at the same time as the one in Ottawa at the matching monument. The two matching monuments face each other across the huge distance between. The war memorial is in the hills with the military cemeteries around. In the cities, there are tall buildings, but in these hills, no building can be more than two stories so that no building casts a shadow on the graves of the soldiers. He also visited the Korean War Museum in which the only non-Korean artifact is a painting of a Canadian soldier to represent the more than 26,000 Canadians who fought there. On this trip, he also visited the demarcation line and was amazed by the contrast between the modern society with its high rise buildings, 12 lane highways, and obvious prosperity in South Korea, compared with the empty shanty village across the demarcation line in North Korea. Back home in Canada, recognizing that for 60 years there had not been a special day to commemorate the Canadian role in the Korean War, the Senate passed a bill commemorating the cease fire on July 27th. Because Blaine Calkins' great uncle, a member of the Princess Patricia Light Infantry, had been one of the first Canadians killed in Korea, Calkins was asked to sponsor the same bill in the House of Commons in May, and was able to gain all party agreement so that it was passed by the end of June and celebrated last July 27th. In July, he was part of another delegation to the Korean War Museum and the area where every UN soldier from every nation is listed by name. The U.S.A. sent more than 40,000 soldiers, so they are listed by state. This area is visited by droves of young Koreans who appreciate what the UN forces did in maintaining their freedoms.
Having a Youth Representative, Taylor Schnell from the County of Wetaskiwin, as the Guest Speaker was also appreciated by all.
The laying of the wreaths is always well organized and announced by Ed Zacharko, but this year the slightly different spacing of the cenotaph and sentinels around it made it awkward for those laying wreaths.
Of course, one of the highlights of the Remembrance Day Ceremony is always the ben Nevis Pipe Band. They participate as appropriate throughout the ceremony, and then provide a very special finishing touch by playing a short concert as people leave and chairs are stacked. They well deserve special thanks, as do all who plan and participate in this very important time of remembrance and appreciation.
More Pictures on page23