Remembrance Day looked quite a bit different this year, but the message stayed the same.
“We must never forget.”
Local Legion president Sheila Donner led 100-plus people through this year’s Remembrance Day ceremony, and made sure that message was clear for all of those in attendance.
“We need to honour our veterans and we need to need to think of them more,” she said. “Many of them have scars that you and I can’t see.”
Those in attendance needed to dress in warm clothes, due to snowfall and weather around – 10.
“It’s cold out, but what’s important is that we’re here,” said Donner. “The crowd here today shows that Canada does appreciate their veterans and the sacrifices they made.
“Sometimes we can forget about veterans in the hustle and bustle, but we need to be thankful.
“Seeing everyone out here today shows me that Medicine Hat remembers.”
The ceremony was modified compared to previous years, with those in attendance being required to wear a mask. Wreaths were placed at the base of the cenotaph before the ceremony started. At the end of the program, individuals representing different organizations took turns walking up to the cenotaph and wreaths to salute.
The program was streamed live to the Cook Southland Funeral Chapel Facebook page. It can be viewed there.
Rita Myson got the ceremony early and walked to the cenotaph to see her great grandfather’s name on the mural.
Myson retired as a master corporal in 2008 and was a cook for 22 years with the armed forces. Her great grandfather John Myson died at Vimy Ridge during the First World War.
“I come out every year,” said Myson. “I’ve been a member of the Legion since 2007.
“Today, for me, is about remembering what came before us. If you don’t remember what came before you, you’re doomed to repeat it.
“Canadians are known as peacekeepers, but we’re known as some of the fiercest fighters out there.
“People before us fought for the freedoms we enjoy today and today we remember that.”
Myson says a Remembrance gathering is especially important this year.
“There has been so much isolation,” she said. “It’s important to come together and to stand together in unity.
“If anyone is feeling isolated or lonely, they can reach out to us at the Legion.
“I just want Medicine Hatters to keep smiling because tomorrow will always be a better day if you keep smiling.”
Remembrance Day ceremonies are going to look different at schools this year.
Due to COVID-19 protocols, large gatherings of students and staff can no longer happen. This means that a school-wide Remembrance assembly is not possible.
The Catholic Board of Education and Public School Division worked with CFB Suffield to create videos to show students and staff before Nov. 11. Prairie Rose schools will also be showing videos from CFB Suffield.
The public board will play its Remembrance videos on different days at different schools, while the Catholic board will show them today.
“Since we can’t be together in a normal way, we made these videos to keep the tradition of Remembrance Day going,” said MHCBE communications co-ordinator Derrian Hallas.
The public school board will have Nov. 11, 12 and 13 off next week. This was voted on recently by the board and is meant to give a bit of a break partway through the first half of the school year. Prairie Rose has the same days off as the public system.
MHPSD initially had a PD Day booked for Nov. 20, but moved that ahead and added a non-operational day to give the extended weekend.
The Catholic board voted months ago to give the entire week off. This was also voted on to give everyone a break during a stressful time.
Both boards thanked CFB Suffield for the help this year with helping make Remembrance Day happen at local schools.
The Catholic board will be posted Remembrance videos on its social media pages.