Small town, big heroes: Emotional homecoming in Lodge Bay this Remembrance Day
Over 10 per cent of the small town in Southern Labrador is serving in the military
In an emotional homecoming, six serving military members returned to their tiny home town of Lodge Bay, Labrador for a special Remembrance Day ceremony Saturday.
For such a small town, there is an exceptional number of people enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces.
"There's over 10 percent of our community that's in the military right now," Chief Petty Officer Elvis Pye told CBC News.
Pye has spent nearly 30 years in the armed forces, he works as a Marine Engineer in Halifax. He said it was important for him to recognize Remembrance Day in his community while he's still a serving member.
"Next year I could be at sea again, so this was my chance."
Elvis' brother, Cpl. Quentin Pye also made the trek home from Edmonton to be with his community and family on Remembrance Day.
He served in Afghanistan in 2006, and he's lost friends in the service. It is an emotional day for him.
"Probably, the emotional day of the year for me, for sure," Quentin Pye said.
"It's kind of a rough day, really. You go through so many emotions. It's good to be home for that."
Small community, big event
The event was started in the early 2000s by two mothers, Betty and Verna Pye who would "parade around the harbour" to show support for their sons who were serving in Afghanistan at the time.
"We knew what they were doing over there. That's the reason why we did it, we wanted to show them our support," Betty Pye said.
It wasn't certain if her son Craig and his wife Tracy, both serving military members would make it from Kingston, Ont. for the event because of the closure of the runways at the Goose Bay airport. But the couple managed to land Friday when flights resumed for a few hours.
"It means a lot to this community to have them come back dressed in their uniforms," Betty Pye said.
Over the years the event has grown. Last year there were around 120 people at the event, this year that number grew to closer to 150.
It now involves other services such as the RCMP and the Canadian Rangers and people from Mary's Harbour and St. Lewis also drive in to join the event.
"It was my mission to contact as many military, navy, RCMP members as I could from the area," said Tanya Russell, who assembled a wall of heroes.
"You get to actually see how many people from our area. There's more than 50 people that have served and are serving from those three little communities."