Edmontonians reflect, pay tribute to soldiers on Remembrance Day
Published Sunday, November 11, 2012 11:31AM MST
Last Updated Sunday, November 11, 2012 3:54PM MST
On Sunday, Edmontonians paused to remember and pay respect to those who fought and continue to fight for Canada.
Thousands attended a number of Remembrance Day ceremonies across the city, paying tribute to Canada’s fallen soldiers and saying thank you to veterans for their sacrifices.
“Today is a day where we mark officially, and acknowledge the sacrifices of so many Canadians,” said Capt. Rick Dumas, who participated in a Remembrance Day ceremony at city hall.
Dumas joined the military when he was 18, and has been serving for 35 years.
He says the support shown by Canadians and specifically Edmontonians, is overwhelming, especially as he remembers a time when the public wasn’t as openly supportive of the military.
“Having been in 35 years, there’s a point when the military was quite neglected and really a side note for so many years but I can tell you over the past ten years, I’m extremely pleased with how the public openly shows its support.”
Alexander McLaren agrees.
McLaren served in World War II and witnessed a number of friends die fighting for the freedoms Canadians experience today.
He says it brings him joy to see so many Edmontonians come out to services on Remembrance Day.
“I’m so happy to see people, the way they are doing this now. At one time the kids didn’t know but now it seems like everybody knows what the poppy is for and that really is important,” McLaren said.
“For years and years I never spoke about the army at all because no one seemed to be interested but now the young people are.”
A ceremony inside city hall took place Sunday morning, followed by a wreath-laying service outside on the city hall plaza.
Lt.-Col. Chris Chodan, who is currently the commanding officer of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment, says it’s heartening to see so many pause and reflect on Remembrance Day.
“I think people are remembering that freedom isn’t free and are starting to pay more attention to it than we used to in the past,” Chodan said.
“It touches people more now than it used to a few years ago.”
Ceremonies took place across Edmonton on Sunday, including at the Beverly Cenotaph, the Butterdome, Kingsway Legion, Alberta Aviation Museum and West Edmonton Mall, to name a few.
Mayor Stephen Mandel said Remembrance Day is one of the most important days of the year and he’s happy to see Edmontonians attend ceremonies across the city.
“It’s a day of real reflection,” Mandel said.
“Thinking about the safety and security and the kids of lives we have in this country because of the sacrifices that so many men and woman made over the years.”
The Butterdome ceremony was the largest in the Capital Region.
Thousands of Edmontonians packed the building for the ceremony Sunday morning, pausing, reflecting, and praying.
“For the nobility and sacrifice of those past and for the well-being in days ahead,” said Major Greg Costen, CF Padre.
It was an emotional day for Lisa Schamehorn Eade, whose husband died while fighting overseas.
“He was on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan when he encountered a very large roadside bombing and unfortunately he and two of his troops were killed with him,” she said.
Hundreds gathered at West Edmonton Mall for a service by the Jasper Place Legion, held at the Ice Palace.
Two women who attended were there to remember their veteran father.
“Hopefully he would be proud of the fact that Canada still does important events like this to honour the sacrifices that the soldiers have made over the decades,” said Cathy Garvey.
“It’s just important to thank those people that did fight to keep us free,” said Rosemarie Garvey.
Many Edmontonians also posted their Remembrance Day messages to social media, which we've compiled below.