O Canada played, the two minutes of silence passed, and Andreas Foerster stood still at the monument to fallen soldiers.
The Nova Scotia government urged people to stay home and watch Remembrance Day ceremonies online as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But Foerster had his own reason to be in Grand Parade in downtown Halifax on Wednesday.
“When I was talking to my friends about coming here, I told them I’m coming because I’m a veteran,” Foerster said.
Foerster, a master’s student at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ont., said he served five years but was released for medical reasons. He wanted to watch the small ceremony to pay respect to those who fought and continue to serve today.
“The reason we have all of our freedoms is because of the people who not only served, but many have died and suffered injuries,” Foerster said. “The least we can do is pay our respect.”
The ceremony in Grand Parade aired online. It was small, involving several political leaders and invited guests who stood apart and wore masks. These guests included Memorial Cross recipients Tom and Angela Reid who lost their son Christopher in Afghanistan.
Cpl. Reid was killed on Aug. 3, 2006, when his vehicle struck a roadside improvised device. He was awarded a Sacrifice Medal posthumously. The Reids were invited to Wednesday’s ceremony to place a wreath in their son’s honour.
“It’s always a sad time for me, even prior to my son getting killed in action, I always went to memorial services and had tears in my eyes.” Angela Reid said.
Reid said it’s important that these ceremonies are held to remember those who died and those who continue to serve.
“What can I say?” she said. “I hope that people can be proud of the people of the past, the fallen, the injured, the people who have PTSD because of fighting for our freedoms.”