Faces of Remembrance Day
Numerous ceremonies are occurring in the city as Halifax commemorates Remembrance Day
November 11, 2015, 10:48 am ASTLast Updated: November 12, 2015, 7:40 am AST'
There are multiple ceremonies across the city today to honour all Canadian veterans on Remembrance Day.
There is a ceremony at the Grand Parade war memorial on Argyle Street. There is one at Point Pleasant Park by the Sailors Monument. There are also ceremonies at the Korean War Memorial in Clayton Park West and Province House in Halifax.
The city is also offering free Halifax Transit services for all veterans and military personnel along with their accompanied family members. Senior communications advisor Tiffany Chase from City Hall says it is the first time Halifax Transit has offered free transportation to family members on Remembrance Day.
Signal Halifax reporters asked different people today at the ceremonies what their connection was to Remembrance Day.
Caleb Lane and Alex Stevens made about a two-hour walk from their homes in Timberlea to the Korean War Remembrance Day ceremony at Stratford Way Gardens.
They wore a Canadian and British flag. Alex Steven’s mother served in the Afghanistan War. They say they came to the ceremony because they believe it is important that young people show respect to those who fought for our freedom.
Following the ceremony the two boys went around the park and shook the hands of every man and women in uniform in attendance. They also took time to talk to and listen to the stories of veterans.
The two were among the last to leave the park, ensuring they had the chance to pay their respects to every service member at the ceremony.
Conservative candidate Irvine Carvery laid a wreath at the cenotaph today. He came on behalf of the Africville community and his church.
Carvery said the Seaview African United Baptist Church has been laying wreaths on Remembrance Day for about 20 years.
“Men and women from Africville served in all the great conflicts,” Carvery explained. “And we have members of Africville buried overseas who paid the ultimate sacrifice. We think it’s important to remember them.”
But the wreath doesn’t stay at the cenotaph for long.
“Tomorrow I’ll come pick it up and we’ll take it back out. We have a tree lighting ceremony on November 28th. The public is invited to come, and we’ll have the wreath on display [at the church],” he said.
Capt. Angus MacDonald is a navy veteran. He worked as a navigator on a munitions cargo ship during the Second World War. He was a British national serving under the Crown. He says he was only a teen when he went to war.
During the war, he was tasked with sinking German U-boats. The medals on his jacket are for his time served in the British Burma campaign.
MacDonald was in the British Merchant Navy, something he says he’s quite proud of. The Merchant Navy has been around since the 17th century. The Merchant Navy suffered heavy casualties during the Second World War.
MacDonald moved to Canada from the UK in 1967, and has lived in Nova Scotia ever since. On Remembrance Day he honours his fellow seamen at the Point Pleasant Park memorial service.
The Canadian Council for the Blind Access and Awareness Chapter Nova Scotia laid a wreath on the cenotaph for the first time this year in Halifax. Milena Khazanavicius, its treasurer, and accompanied former city councillor Jerry Blumenthal put a wreath down at the Grande Parade ceremony.
“I came from a communist country (Lithuania) back in 1979,” Khazanavicius said. “My grandfather fought against the Germans and to be living free in Canada now is everything to me. I honour everyone that’s done everything for me and everyone in Canada.”
Adrian Armstrong honoured his grandfather at the Korean War Memorial ceremony for Remembrance Day in Clayton Park. His grandfather fought in the Canadian Air Force in Shearwater during the Second World War. Armstrong said his grandfather participated in the war by lying about his age at 17.
Armstrong’s grandfather went against his Mennonite religion by fighting in the war and was excommunicated from his family.
“He thought fighting was more important,” said Armstrong.
He said Remembrance Day is not just a day off.
“It’s important for my son and the next generation to remember the sacrifices men and women gave to bring peace back to the people,” said Armstrong.
Armstrong’s grandfather is now a retired brigadier general in British Columbia.
Lt.-Col. Chris Middleton served in Afghanistan on three occasions. Each time he worked in either design or construction.
Although he considers his experience developing infrastructure with minimal resources “extraordinarily interesting,” he’ll never forget the dangers that come with the job.
“We heard the ricochet of the shrapnel flying past us and felt the concussion,” said Middleton about a rocket that landed 100 metres from his base.
Days later, a second missile flew through the air, hitting one of the kitchens on site and killed a few people who were eating inside.
On Remembrance Day, Middleton pays tribute to his fallen colleagues as well as his grandfather who fought in the Second World War.