Remembrance Day 2018, was a day of special significance and poignancy as it marked the centenary of the end of the First World War.
While the commemoration ceremony at the McLennan Elks Hall unfolded with the usual formalities and solemnity, remembering all veterans who fought in all conflicts, there was also, of course, a special thought for those who fought and those who lost their lives in the so-called “war to end all wars.”
Brian Whelen, former signals operator with Canadian Forces was the first guest speaker. He spoke about how Canadian soldiers, made up of citizens and new immigrants eventually became one of the most formidable forces on the Western Front and in the process helped forge Canada’s national identity in the trenches of Europe.
Francis Lessard, spoke next, making a special mention of the G.P. Vanier “No Stone Left Alone,” event and elaborated on the itinerary of the Battlefields Tour in Europe happening this spring.
Speaking of an earlier school trip to visit war memorials, battle sites and cemeteries of Canadian soldiers in Europe, Lessard talked about how many of the students put poppies on the tomb of the unknown soldier and when he asked why they did that he was surprised by the answer he received.
“Probably no one ever comes to visit him or her, was their answer,” says Lessard, “I was very moved about that and the recent ”No stone left alone,” reminded me of that.”
Joanne Cloutier presented the bursary on behalf of the McLennan Royal Purple Elks Lodge No. 52 to Grant MacEwan College, Bachelor of Science in Nursing student Megan McNeil.
Two members of the High Prairie Air Cadet Squadron accepted a donation from the McLennan Legion.
The Legion has supported the Cadets for a number of years and has pledged to continue doing so.
And that support is also reciprocated. On October 27, a delegation from the Air Cadets were in McLennan selling poppies with all the money they raised presented to Legion president, David Champion to go into the poppy fund at the McLennan Legion.
Approximately 20 wreaths were placed at the Elks Hall commemoration with the mayors from McLennan, Donnelly, Falher and Girouxville representing their municipalities.
The placing of the final wreath on behalf of the McLennan Royal Canadian Legion No. 153 was placed appropriately by Legion President, David Champion and Second World War veteran Paul Emile Maisonneuve.
Mr. Maisonneuve, who celebrated his 100th birthday recently also received his sixty-year pin as a member of the McLennan Legion.
Following the ceremony at the Elk’s Hall that concluded with a rendition of “God Save the Queen,” a parade to the McLennan Legion Hall and a short service at the cenotaph where Brian Whelen laid the wreath.
Afterward, coffee and sandwiches were served at the Legion and at 6 pm, the by donation, traditional Remembrance Day roast beef supper was held at the hall.