Normally this day is filled with gatherings of solemn ceremony, the day we remember our military dead who died serving our country. The pandemic has changed the traditional ceremonies however, with many moving on-line, with virtual spectators and reduced personnel around local cenotaphs.
Several small communities in central Prince Edward Island, supported by a local service group, decided to do something different this year. Their efforts have drawn people to see four hundred small white crosses placed in front of the cenotaph in North Rustico at the Veterans Memorial Park. Each cross has a poppy and the name of a local resident who served in the Canadian military, covering the period from 1899-1953, including the Boer War, World Wars 1 and 2 and the Korean War.
We visited yesterday and I found it to be an emotional experience. It is amazing to see the number of crosses, each representing someone from these small communities who served their country, some of whom gave the ultimate sacrifice.
The same can be said of communities all across this country, so many people were willing to sacrifice everything for their families, friends and fellow Canadians. People from the villages, towns, cities, bays, harbours, coves, mountains, prairies and from Arctic to Pacific to Atlantic answered the call.
Seeing the crosses and the visitors in this place, it is easy to imagine how the enlistment and service of a family member affected the family left behind on the farms and fishing villages of this island. One could imagine the impact in the home communities when so many of the young people were killed in battle. The trauma suffered by those who survived and carried their visible and invisible wounds with them for the rest of their lives were almost reality. It is a place of reflection and appreciation.
A special thank you to all who worked on this wonderful tribute!
Lest we forget.