'It is our duty to remember them:' Charlottetown's moving Remembrance Day ceremony

Thousands came to pay their respects at a Remembrance Day ceremony held at the cenotaph in Charlottetown Friday morning.

Thousands attend ceremony at cenotaph in downtown Charlottetown

A veteran waits in his wheelchair for the Remembrance Day ceremony in Charlottetown to begin Friday morning. (CBC)

Thousands of Islanders attended Friday's Remembrance Day ceremony in Charlottetown which included a 21-gun salute, dozens of memorial wreaths and many moving stories of Islanders involvement in conflicts of the past century from the First World War to Afghanistan. 

Members of the Royal Canadian Legion, HMCS Queen Charlotte, the Prince Edward Island Regiment, RCMP, Charlottetown Police Service, Sea and Army Cadets as well as the Knights of Columbus paraded to the drums of the P.E.I. Regimental Band. Veterans unable to march watched closely from a parked bus. Kent MacDonald of the Charlottetown Legion, a veteran himself, emceed the event. 

'It is our duty to remember them'

"They saw service and sacrifice as a duty. It is our duty to remember them," said Capt. Rev. Dr. Tom Hamilton. "Let us remember them, lest we forget." 

Veterans parade down Great George Street in Charlottetown to the Remembrance Day ceremony Friday morning. (CBC)

"We pray that they will return safely," said Rev. Greg Davis, padre for the HMCS Queen Charlottte, in his prayer or reflection, speaking of those currently serving.

"Many of us here cannot fully imagine the experience of war, other than what we see in the movies," Davis noted. 

Lt. Governor Frank Lewis laid the first wreath, followed by dozens of politicians, military personnel, service groups, Korean War veterans. At the end, veterans were invited to place wreaths themselves, and were greeted by a huge round of applause from the crowd lasting several minutes.

'She knew the risks'

The Memorial Silver Cross was laid by Sally Goddard in memory of her daughter Capt. Nichola Goddard, killed in Afghanistan in 2006, the first Canadian female combat solider to be killed and first Canadian woman to be killed in action since the Second World War. The Silver Cross commemorates and stands for the mothers of all Canada's fallen, MacDonald told the crowd.

Sally Goddard lays the Memorial Silver Cross wreath in honour of her daughter Capt. Nichola Goddard, killed in action in Afghanistan in 2006. (CBC)

"She loved her job, knew the risks, and was a respected leader," said MacDonald.

After the service Islanders were invited to Veteran Affairs Canada's Daniel J. MacDonald building and then to the Charlottetown Legion to meet and talk with veterans.This is the one day most veterans come to the Legion. MacDonald said.