Thousands of Nova Scotians gathered across HRM yesterday to pay respects to Canada’s war dead.
At the Parade Square in downtown Halifax, where soldiers have marched for more than 250 years, dozens of Canadian Forces personnel past and present were joined by hundreds of Haligonians. At 11 a.m., canons rumbled through the still air and a Sea King helicopter flew past as heads bowed in a moment of silence.
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Mayann Francis, the lieutenant-governor, laid the first wreath at the newly refurbished cenotaph. She was followed by Silver Cross Mother Angela Reid, whose son Christopher died in Afghanistan in 2006.
After the ceremony, Premier Darrell Dexter said he was glad to see such a big turnout.
“More and more, people are understanding that the act of remembrance is an important one, that people made huge sacrifices to secure the peace and freedom that we enjoy today,” he said.
Dexter served in the navy, but his thoughts were with his late father, who fought in the Second World War.
“He signed up during the war, left his wife and two kids behind in Milton, and was overseas for four years – a big piece of his life,” he said. “He was just one of many who did that, and they came from all the small towns, from Milton and Bridgetown and Yarmouth and Glace Bay, and they came to do their duty and serve their country.”
Thomas Waters, Royal Canadian Legion district commander for Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command, organized yesterday’s event.
“I think we’re getting more people out because of what’s happening in the world today, and that’s the sad part. The good part is people are remembering those who gave the supreme sacrifice,” he said. “(Veterans) feel especially sorry for the young ones that have passed away (in Afghanistan), because they’ve seen it happen and here it’s happening over again.”