Nfld. & Labrador

'Beautiful acts of remembrance': N.L.'s war dead, veterans honoured

Crowds gathered to mark the sombre occasion, and across the province, people paid tribute in unique ways.

Across the province, people found unique ways to pay tribute

Aviator Jeff Kelly of the Royal Canadian Air Force, a member of the honour guard, stands vigil on the cenotaph at the National War Memorial in St. John's. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Crowds gathered at cenotaphs and war memorials across the province for Remembrance Day ceremonies Monday morning.

In St. John's, a parade moved from the Sergeants' Memorial on Water Street to the National War Memorial on Duckworth Street.

Several dignitaries and families laid wreaths at the foot of the memorial ahead of the ceremony. 

"If you look around at the crowd here this morning, it's an amazing tribute," said Gail Malone, whose father, Gerry Malone, served in the 166th (Newfoundland) Field Artillery Regiment.

"The memory and the appreciation is still there."

Fredrick Allister Downton, a veteran of the Second World War, said he was thinking about his own experiences, and about the people he knew who didn't make it.

"I've been attending these every year since they started," the 95-year-old said.

"I wouldn't miss it for the world."

Fredrick Allister Downton, 95, has been attending Remembrance Day ceremonies for his entire life, and wouldn't miss it for the world, he says. (Katie Breen/CBC)

Downton was a member of the merchant marine during the war. Now, he's a member of the Singing Legionnaires, a choir that performed during the ceremony on Monday.

The second-oldest member in the group, Downton is one of the few members who doesn't use a songbook when he performs.

"If I know all the words, sure, I can't help it," he laughed.

Anna and Simon Rideout stand with their uncle, who Simon describes as both strong and smart. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Water Street and Duckworth Street were lined with people who came to see the parade before the ceremony began. 

Brother and sister Simon and Anna Rideout came because their uncle is a member of the military, they said. 

Simon described his uncle as "strong and smart," while Anna said soldiers are "really brave."

Crowds watched the parade from Duckworth Street and Water Street on Monday morning. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Cemetery ceremony

Among the communities marking Remembrance Day in this province are two air force bases: 5 Wing Goose Bay and 9 Wing Gander.

Canadian Rangers and air force members march through a snowy military cemetery at 5 Wing Goose Bay for an annual early morning ceremony. (Perry Trimper/Facebook)

The Labrador base is home to a military graveyard where veterans and victims of military plane crashes are buried, noted Capt. Trevor Ackland, the base's public affairs officer.

As it does every year, the air force base hosts an early morning ceremony in the cemetery, before a community parade later in the day.

The Happy Valley-Goose Bay Remembrance Day parade arrives at the Royal Canadian Legion on Monday morning. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

"Everybody that I've spoken to who's participated or witnessed the ceremony agrees, it's one of the most beautiful acts of remembrance they've ever seen," Ackland said. 

A child looks on as the Gander Remembrance Day parade winds its way through town. (David Newell/CBC)

"We have a member of 5 Wing Goose Bay march out into the cemetery and stand at attention at the specific grave of each individual person who's buried there."

Wall of honour

All over the province, people are finding new ways to remember the sacrifice of soldiers and other servicepeople.

In Paradise, a hair salon offered discounted cuts to veterans. In Conception Bay South, a restaurant offered free meals to people who've served. 

At St. Teresa's School in St. John's, students put together a "wall of honour" in the school lobby. 

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      The exhibit features pictures of veterans and Canadian Forces members who are related to the elementary school children.

      "Every student just gravitates to the wall," said principal Kyran Dwyer. 

      "Talk to our children and they know someone that's serving today."

      Members of the Canadian Rangers and Junior Canadian Rangers marched through Nain to mark Remembrance Day. (Herbert Rex Holwell/Facebook)

      On Monday afternoon, health minister and Gander MHA John Haggie appeared at a ceremony to name a section of the Trans-Canada Highway near Gander "Remembrance Way," held at the North Atlantic Aviation Museum in Gander.

      A house in downtown St. John's is decorated with red poppies on Remembrance Day. (Francesca Swann/CBC)

      Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

      With files from The St. John's Morning Show

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