As thousands in Nova Scotia gathered to pay their respects on Remembrance Day, Canadian troops stationed overseas took part in a special ceremony on Monday.

'It's nice to see when [people] come up and shake our hands and thank us for our work. We appreciate them too, on the home front, looking after things while we're gone.' - Master Warrant Officer Andrew MacDonald

Troops honoured all of Canada's fallen soldiers, including the 158 who have died in Afghanistan since 2002.

Master Warrant Officer Andrew MacDonald, of Halifax, has been with the Canadian Forces for 30 years and spoke to CBC News from Kabul, Afghanistan on Monday. He is on his second tour of duty and is now helping to train the Afghan National Police.

He said the ceremony is different when it's held there, because it's where more than 150 Canadians have died.

“It actually has a more surreal feeling over here because we’re actually in the country where we’ve been doing a lot of our training for fighting in the last 12 years and we’ve seen friends and colleagues that I’ve lost over here," he said.

"It makes it more surreal, makes it more real — not that it isn’t real back home."

MacDonald said the 2007 death of one young colleague — Pat Pentland — still upsets him.

“Pat was kind of special because his dad was my first master corporal when I got in, he was my boss and I knew Pat since he was two. That one was hard," said MacDonald.

MacDonald also said he and others in Afghanistan are thankful so many Canadians attend ceremonies.

“I’m thankful that they appreciate our work. We’ve had a very good rapport with the Canadian public for the last 12 or 15 years and it’s nice to see when they come up and shake our hands and thank us for our work," he said.

"We appreciate them too on the home front, looking after things while we’re gone."

Nova Scotia honours those who serve

The sound of cannons was heard over the singing of O Canada in downtown Halifax on Monday morning. 

The sun peeked through grey skies just as The Last Post was played while members of the military, RCMP and the public filled Grand Parade.

People young and old donned poppies and bowed their heads as a concert band played hymns. Numerous shots from a Citadel Hill cannon echoed in the streets throughout the service.

Family of fallen soldiers, military personnel, police and politicians laid wreaths decorated with poppies and purple ribbons on a war memorial bearing the words: "In honour of those who served. In memory of those who fell."

Prayers were read to the crowd in both English and French.

With files from The Canadian Press