Ken Ball eyed the wreaths placed by the cenotaph at the Monument of Honour in Conception Bay South with a solemn expression.
He lingered there after most of the crowd had dispersed following the community’s Remembrance Day ceremony to honour the lives of soldiers killed in battle.
“We come out to obviously pay tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces, and in particular I come out every year to pay special remembrance to a friend of mine who was killed in action in Afghanistan,” said Ball, originally from Mount Pearl but now living in Conception Bay South.
Warrant Officer Richard Nolan of Mount Pearl was one of four Canadian soliders killed on Sept. 3, 2006 during a battle in the Panjwai district of Afghanistan. He was 39 years old.
“I find it’s comforting to take the kids here, and it keeps things in perspective,” Ball said.
Louis O’Brien, originally from Prince Edward Island, but now residing at the Caribou Legion Manor in St. John’s, drove a Bren Gun Carrier during the Second World War.
He joined the army at 17, and following training in Saskatchewan, he served in Holland and northern Africa.
“So many of my friends have passed on, and I’m here to remember their passing and the sacrifices they made for us,” he said.
O’Brien’s nephew David recently returned home from Afghanistan.
Ball’s children, Carlie and Alia, both have taken an interest in remembering the experience of veterans.
“It’s great to have somewhere in our town where we can respect the men and the women that died in war for us,” Carlie said.
Second World War veteran Pat Kerrivan of Holyrood was involved in the Battle of the Atlantic, a campaign that lasted six years and involved thousands of ships. He recalls seeing terrible sights, with torpedoes destroying boats “like sitting ducks.”
While it is impossible to forget such moments, he takes pleasure in knowing people continue to honour their sacrifices.
“Look at the crowd,” he said. “My God, it’s marvelous.”