A field of poppies seemed to bloom yesterday upon the lapels of all the Calgarians who attended the Military Museums’ Remembrance Day ceremony.
About 10,000 Calgarians gathered at the city’s largest outdoor ceremony to pay their respects to Canada’s fallen soldiers and to memorialize the veterans in attendance.
Calgary MP Jim Prentice delivered the Remembrance Day message, which reflected on Canada’s contributions to war and peace, both past and present.
“As long as there is a Canada, and as long as there is Canadians, we will fight to defend freedom and democracy,” said Prentice to nodding veterans and the sea of Calgarians who filled the parade grounds in front of the museum.
Prentice dedicated the last part of his message to Sapper Steven Marshall, the sixth Calgary soldier to die in Afghanistan. The mention of recent Canadian losses brought a sobering truth to the crowd.
“More people are beginning to realize that we are living in war time,” said Cpl. Len Davidson, who was in attendance with other veterans of the 3rd Cavalry, who have recently returned from Afghanistan.
“It’s good to see this many people out, because public support of the war effort at home is vital.”
After the ceremony concluded, many Calgarians lined up to enter the museum, placing their poppies by the eternal flame burning outside.
“We come here every year,” said Jason Shepard, who attended with his grandmother.
“My grandfather fought in World War Two and was killed in Korea. Not many people seem to remember that we were over there, too. But here it seems like they remember.”
Organizers of the event noted that roughly the same number of Calgarians attended this year as last.
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