Hundreds gathered at Sarnia’s Veterans Park, Friday, to mark Remembrance Day and honour those who have served, and continue to serve today.
“Your attendance here today is a testament that our message is being heard,” said Les Jones, President of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 62.
“Just some examples include our cadets — who will leave the ceremony early today; they will form up along the parade route, and they will salute the veteran contingent as the veterans pass by them.”
He pointed to some 70 high school students from St. Patrick’s High School in attendance, “as well as about 30 English as a second language (ESL) students… new Canadians who are also taking part in our service of remembrance.”
Jones also highlighted the unveiling of the new Veterans Crosswalk, located at the intersection of Wellington and Christina Streets.
A brief ribbon cutting was held as the parade approached the red-and-white painted crosswalk, which includes the words, ‘Lest we Forget’ completed in cooperation with the Sarnia Legion and City of Sarnia.
Coun. Brian White, who first brought the idea to council last year, was on hand to cut the ribbon, and speak during the service.
“My story is not unlike many others,” he told the crowd at Veterans Park. “I spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ on Alice street, but it was only when I was 20-years-old, when I was introducing my soon-to-be-wife to my grandparents, that my grandfather for the very first time mentioned anything about serving in WWII.”
“I had no idea,” he recalled. “He only spoke a few words. Then he became quiet. He became somber, and he never uttered another word to me or to anyone else in my family again about his experience.”
White said he hopes the crosswalk will encourage residents to take time to reflect on Sarnia’s military history.
“Whether you’re in your car, living your busy life, or crossing the street,” he said. “That we will all just take a brief moment to reflect, to honour with thanks, those who served and those who made such incredible sacrifices so that we enjoy the country that we have today.”