Wet, cold Remembrance Day in St. John’s

Andrew
Andrew Robinson
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Large crowd braves less than ideal conditions to honour contributions to war efforts

With cold rain pouring down at a tremendous rate throughout the duration of Monday’s Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial in St. John’s, some may have questioned the decision to go ahead with the annual event this year.

With water dripping down over him, a member of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment braves the elements as he stands at attention at the National War Memorial monument on Water Street east on Monday morning during a shortened Remembrance Day ceremony, due to the heavy rainfall that at times turned to wet snow.

Of course, it could be said that those meant to be honoured by Remembrance Day never had a choice in how to proceed any given day when war was at hand.

The terrible weather did not deter hundreds from attending the ceremony. Merchant Navy veteran Joe Pearcey, who served on a ship that transported troops to New York and Bermuda during the Second World War, was pleased to see so many people turn out for the ceremony despite the harsh weather conditions. He suggested that highlights how much the occasion means to the public.

“It’s fantastic,” said the 87-year-old. “They must have some kind of a strong meaning behind this memorial service to have the people come out like that.”

Pearcey can recall many stretches of rough weather he experienced while contributing to the war effort aboard the SS Fort Amherst.

“It was terrible. You couldn’t go on the decks half the time because the weather was too bad.”

Rain poured down throughout the duration of the parade and the ceremony itself to honour those who contributed to war efforts past and present. That rain at times changed to wet snow and hail, drenching everyone who attended.

“This is some kind of a day,” said Pearcey. “Regardless of the weather, you can’t very well turn around and cancel (Remembrance Day).”

At one point, Pearcey saw a veteran improvise a shelter for a baby who was at the ceremony.

“I thought that was beautiful,” he said.

The severity of the weather did impact the ceremony, as organizers elected to have some attendees lay wreaths in front of the War Memorial after the ceremony concluded.

“The Last Post” was performed several minutes prior to 11:11 a.m., with the traditional moment of silence following shortly thereafter. “O Canada” was played, but the “Ode to Newfoundland” and the British anthem of “God Save the Queen” were not. A bagpiper attempted to perform “The Lament,” but the rain’s impact on the instrument prevented the musician from advancing the piece beyond a handful of notes.

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(Earlier Story)

A large crowd managed to make it to downtown St. John’s for the annual Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial, despite hostile weather conditions.

Rain poured down through the duration of the event to honour those who contributed to war efforts past and present. That rain at times changed to wet snow and hail, drenching those present for the event.

The severity of the weather did impact the ceremony, as organizers elected to have some attendees lay wreaths in front of the War Memorial after the ceremony concluded. “O Canada” was played, but the “Ode to Newfoundland” and the British anthem of “God Save the Queen” were not.

Merchant Navy veteran Joe Pearcey, who served on a ship that transported troops to New York and Bermuda during the Second World War, was pleased to see so many people turn out for the ceremony despite the harsh weather conditions, suggesting it showed how much they cared about honouring the occasion.

For more on Monday’s ceremony, check back later today at thetelegram.com.

Geographic location: Newfoundland, New York, Bermuda

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Recent comments

  • Marty
    November 12, 2013 - 17:32

    The weather was miserable but in order to make it a little more comfortable for our ageing and frail Vets, could there not have been some type of shelter erected at the site to protect them from the rain and snow? As far as the Premier being 15 minutes late and wearing the "white poppy", I'm go smacked at her lack of sensitivity!

  • JD
    November 12, 2013 - 13:04

    I think its a nice idea to consider the dedication required for such a ceremony however many veterans are very very old now. How about the youth that had to stand in the conditions. CBS, PAradise, and other areas had secondary plans for inclement weather. As too should have St. John's. Heaven forbid that something like Mile One (vacant due to holiday) be used.

  • Rick MacEachern
    November 12, 2013 - 12:04

    There was no need to put our Veterns through that kind of miserable day.They knew what the weather was going to be like and should have moved the Services indoors.Shame on th em to treat our Veterns like that.

  • Heidi Meadus
    November 12, 2013 - 10:25

    I was there with my little boy, in the freezing rain, sleet, wind! Bodies bursting with emotion at the sight of everyone standing firm in the elements, determined to not give up, in honour of those who risked their lives to help others. My heart sank more and more the longer I saw everyone wait for our Premier to arrive. I can't help but assume lack of respect. I'd love to hear a valid reason. Please respond

  • Pat
    November 12, 2013 - 07:49

    My 17 year old daughter and I went to the Remembrance Day Ceremony and it's one she will not forget. With the cold, rain and sleet she was shivering right down to her bones. But as I said to her, "imagine what those soldiers, dead and alive, have gone through. They went through much worse" We are grateful for all who served. God Bless!

  • Lori
    November 12, 2013 - 06:35

    I was at the Remembrance Day ceremony in St. John's and was disgusted by the disrespect shown by our Premier and Lieutenant Governor by their tardiness.

    • Steven
      November 12, 2013 - 07:52

      Apparently, the LG was on time, but had to sit and wait because the Premier was not. Further, Madam Premier showed up wearing one of those fad white poppies, and when she reached the top of the steps, was approached by a Legion member who removed the white poppy from her lapel and replaced it with a red one. Well done.

  • santo
    November 11, 2013 - 19:02

    Our veterans fought is horrible circumstances, a bit of rain to show our respects is a small price to pay. Cancel it due to rain? Question the go ahead? Foolishness.

  • francis cave
    November 11, 2013 - 18:54

    it was nice rainy day and lots of wind,but didt stop the people from coming out ,and showing how munch we all care

  • Saucy Face
    November 11, 2013 - 13:15

    And Dunderdale made the people that she was supposed to be thanking stand in the rain for an extra 15 minutes because she was late. How dare she!!! She and the Lt. Governor should be there waiting for the Vets to arrive at these ceremonies, , not the other way around. They owe them at the very least that much respect. Jerks!

    • Not Necessarily
      November 12, 2013 - 12:38

      The Lt Govenor was not late. He was held up because the Premier, Kathy Dunderdale showed a total disrespect for all attending, including young and old veterans and serving military members by being late. Not good form Premier!