Mickey Dumont/The Portage Citizen:
On Remembrance Day (Armistice Day) Canadians will gather to honour and remember Canada’s fallen Veterans and help ensure Canadians never forget their sacrifice.
Every year, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, observing the date and time when armies stopped fighting World War I, locally we gather in Stride Place to stand in honour of all who have fallen. We observe a period of silence to think about our freedom and to thank those who fought — many giving up their lives — so we can enjoy that freedom.
The national Royal Canadian Legion website poignantly states, Nov. 11 has grown in scope to acknowledge those who served to protect beyond World War I: “Together, we observe a moment of silence to mark the sacrifice of the many who have fallen in the service of their country, and to acknowledge the courage of those who still serve.”
Over 100,000 Canadian soldiers died in the First and Second World Wars and it is important on Remembrance Day to remember Canadian troops continue to serve in the theatre of war and this day is to also show respect and support for them.
2018 is the Armistice Day centennial. “There are many significant things happening across Canada, and in particular in our area,” says Bob Oldford, President Royal Canadian Legion Branch 65 in Portage la Prairie. “
Those attending the Remembrance Day ceremony at Stride Place are being asked to be seated by 10:30 a.m. “We’re looking for a big crowd. Some local churches will not hold regular service in lieu of having their congregation member attend the Remembrance Day ceremony.
The parade will enter at approximately 10:45 and the PCI Senior Choir will entertain prior to commencement.
“We start right at 11 a.m. with a minute of silence,” said Oldford. “We will do the Last Post and we will read the names of local veterans who have passed in this last year and then the service.”
Bells will toll on November 11
The sun will set at 4:54 p.m. and to commemorate Armistice Day centennial, bells in Portage la Prairie that can ring, wing sound out as bells did 1oo years ago to celebrate the end of hostilities.
“It’s called the Bells of Peace. We have requested the church and the city consider ringing their bells as they would have rung in 1918 when the end of World War I was announced,” said Oldford.
“There are Legion members who will be down at Fort La Reine where they have three bells.”
The Bells of Peace campaign calls for the bells to boldly sound 100 times — once for each year — but it will not be possible for some bells in Portage la Prairie.
“Problem is some of the old bells in churches, if you rang them 100 times at five second intervals, they would probably not last to ring again. They want to ring their bells and have suggested ringing their bells once for every 10 years.”
The three bells at Fort la Reine will ring alternately and the city has a digital bell.
St. Mary’s will be ringing its bell.
“It’s quite exciting,” said Oldford.
Poppy goes digital
The Royal Canadian Legion this year has released a digital poppy for use on social media. As a meme it works as a new age poppy we would wear on our lapels.
It can be customized, shared online and used as a profile image on social media sites.
The downloadable image looks like a silver coin with a red poppy at the centre. The words “Remembrance Day 2018” run along the top edge, while the bottom edge can be customized to display the name of a veteran or someone in service. Otherwise, the words “We Remember” will appear. The Royal Canadian Legion’s deputy director says he hopes it will appeal to younger generations accustomed to communicating on social media.
“We wanted to attract the generation that is very much into this technology,” explained Oldford. “We thought this would be a great way to add how we communicate with our membership, many of whom are very digitally connected and would appreciate this.”