A salute to their courage

Kerri Breen
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Published on July 02, 2010

Published on July 02, 2010

Published on July 02, 2010

Published on July 02, 2010

Published on July 02, 2010

Published on July 02, 2010

Published on July 02, 2010

Published on July 02, 2010

Published on July 02, 2010

Published on July 02, 2010

Published on July 02, 2010

Published on July 02, 2010

Royal Newfoundland Regiment commanding officer Lt.-Col. E.A. Ludlow (right) prepares to lay a wreath. The wreath bearer is Lt.-Col. F.A. Brennan.

Published on July 02, 2010

Soldiers fire a volley of shots during the Memorial Day ceremony at the National War Memorial on Water Street Thursday. A large crowd attended the event.
- Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

Published on July 02, 2010

Published on July 02, 2010

The federal Minister of Veteran's Affairs, Jean-Pierre Blackburn, shakes hands with veterans following the Memorial Day ceremony.

Published on July 02, 2010

Published on July 02, 2010

Canada Day was the first official day on the job for the new president of Memorial University, Dr. Gary Kachanoski (left). As his first official duty, he laid a wreath during Memorial Day ceremonies at the War Memorial.

Published on July 02, 2010

Published on July 02, 2010

Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie shakes hands with veterans Thursday following Memorial Day services at the National War Memorial on Water Street. - Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

Veterans and war dead honoured as Canada marks its birthday

Aside from Canada Day, July 1 has another meaning for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Thursday marked the 94th anniversary of the grisly First World War battle at Beaumont Hamel in France. Only 68 of 801 members of the First Royal Newfoundland Regiment were able to answer the roll call the next day.

In St. John's, police on horses led uniformed members of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Canadian Forces, the RCMP, RNC and Association of Registered Nurses, to the National War Memorial following a wreath laying ceremony at the Sergeant's Memorial near Gower Street.

Aside from Canada Day, July 1 has another meaning for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Thursday marked the 94th anniversary of the grisly First World War battle at Beaumont Hamel in France. Only 68 of 801 members of the First Royal Newfoundland Regiment were able to answer the roll call the next day.

In St. John's, police on horses led uniformed members of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Canadian Forces, the RCMP, RNC and Association of Registered Nurses, to the National War Memorial following a wreath laying ceremony at the Sergeant's Memorial near Gower Street.

Patrick Hanlon, 27, came downtown to watch the annual ceremony. He said he has been doing it for as long as he can remember.

"I used to ask Mom and Dad to take me if they didn't say, 'you're going,'" he said.

Hanlon said Canada Day has eclipsed Memorial Day for many Newfoundlanders.

"Our Newfoundland and Labrador culture and heritage is slowly starting to dwindle away as we become more Canadian," he said.

"Part of that is evidenced by the number of people here," he said. "It's a holiday. Nobody's working."

Before the official start of the ceremony, there were about 100 people in attendance.

But before the official proceedings began at 10:55 a.m., hundreds more flocked to the site between Duckworth and Water streets.

Parents brought their children. Senior citizens came by to watch. Some wore sprigs of forget-me-nots on their lapels.

Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie laid the first wreath on the memorial.

About 35 wreaths were laid by military groups, their supporters, and other organizations, such as the St. John's Board of Trade and the French Embassy.

On his first day on the job, Memorial University president Gary Kachanoski also laid a wreath.

The "Last Post" was played, prayers were said, and a poem recited.

A group of about a dozen Royal Newfoundland Regiment members fired their rifles three times.

Light puffs of smoke filled the air as shiny brass cartridges hit the ground.

Premier Danny Williams, among those present, told reporters July 1 is both a sombre and inspirational day.

"It's a tribute to the lives of the people who were sacrificed, and it's not only the soliders of the past, of course, but our soliders that have recently given their lives in Afghanistan."

"I had the privilege of going over to Beaumont Hamel and it was a special moment in my life," he said.

Stephen Jarvis, who served as a petty officer with the Royal Canadian Navy, watched the ceremony with a group of veterans.

He uses a wheelchair to get around these days, and has not been able to make it out to the ceremony in a few years.

"When I was in my prime, I'd never miss (it)," he said. "So I made up my mind today," he said.

For those who couldn't make it, the commemoration continued at the Caribou Memorial Veterans Pavillion near Quidi Vidi.

It was nearly a standing-room-only event. Federal Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn made a speech to the veterans.

Blackburn told the audience that as soon as he learned of Beaumont Hamel when he was appointed in January, he requested to spend Memorial Day in the province.

"I wanted to salute the courage of those men and women who fought for our great nation," he said.

telegram@thetelegram.com

Organizations: First Royal Newfoundland Regiment, Royal Canadian Legion, Canadian Forces RCMP, RNC and Association St. John's Board of Trade French Embassy Royal Canadian Navy Veterans Affairs

Geographic location: Canada, France, St. John's Gower Street Newfoundland and Labrador Afghanistan

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • j
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    as a boy, i would always take in parades and cerimonies honouring our veterans. as a father, my son is reminded of the sacrifices that these and other veterans gave, so that he could enjoy his video games and other things that many take for granted. thank you to all who have and do serve, regardless of conflict or country; past and present...we will never forget!