“It’s so beautiful.”
Ninety-one years old, World War II veteran Sgt. Robert Guy attends the Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial every year he is able.
“It means quite a bit to me,” said the London, Ont., resident, who began serving as a 20-year-old in 1931. He lost many friends during the war, and never fails to think of them during the ceremony.
On Wednesday, tens of thousands of people attended a packed ceremony downtown to honour Canadian war veterans and remember those who died for the country.
Prince Charles, colonel-in-chief of three Canadian regiments, and Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean, titular commander-in-chief of the Canadian Forces, both donned full military dress as they laid wreaths at the foot of the monument. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Gen. Walter Natynczyk, and this year’s Silver Cross mother, Della Marie Morley of East Saint Paul, Man., among others, also laid wreaths. Morley’s son, Cpl. Keith Morley, was killed in Afghanistan in 2006.
Before the ceremony, Prince Charles issued a statement thanking Canadian troops in Afghanistan for their service.
“We join with the Canadian people in expressing our proud and heartfelt gratitude to all members of Her Majesty's Canadian Forces who are currently serving in Afghanistan for your selfless dedication on behalf of us all.”
Ottawa resident Amy Schulz said she makes a point to attend the Remembrance Day ceremony when she can.
“It’s a day to remember the sacrifices that were made for our freedom,” she said. “It’s great to be able to stand here at an event like this and not worry that anything is going to happen.”
She even caught a glimpse of Prince Charles, she said. “It’s wonderful that he attended,” she added.
Joe Hager of Ottawa attends the ceremony every year. “It’s getting harder and harder for veterans to come down,” he said. “The least we can do is come down for them.”
Rachael Hargarty said she always “gets a little teary” during The Last Post.
“I think about how different the world would be if we didn’t have these men and women to fight for our freedom,” she said. “We owe them everything. Every day should be Remembrance Day.”
A separate ceremony was also held at the National Military Cemetery.
WITH FILES FROM THE CANADIAN PRESS