Cardiff Remembrance Day ceremony went well

The Remembrance Day ceremony at the cenotaph went well, according to Cardiff Legion president Cameron McKenzie. In addition to the veterans and community members congregating at the cenotaph, all the students from the local elementary school also came en masse to attend the ceremony and learn what Remembrance Day is all about.

McKenzie, who is also a councillor on Highlands East council, said the ceremony at 11 a.m. went well and said it was nice that the weather had been warm and the sun had been out, which was a departure from last year when it was colder and overcast with flurries. He was there with his son Peter, a veteran of Afghanistan, and his grandson Daniel, who is in the Haliburton army cadets.

Karin Aschenarenner said it was nice that they’d gotten all the kids in on the ceremony [from the local elementary school, Cardiff Elementary School]. “All the kids were there together in a big group, from junior kindergarten to grade 3, which was nice to see, especially after the last couple of years [with COVID-19 restrictions],” she says.

Highlands East Mayor Dave Burton was at the ceremony and said that with two Legions in their township, it’s hard for him to be at both services, so he tries to alternate each year (Deputy Mayor Cecil Ryall attended the Wilberforce Remembrance Day ceremony). “The service in Cardiff was very well attended and a nice morning as well. The Cardiff school attended and took part. I had the pleasure and honour to lay the municipal wreath with my grandson Rhys, who goes to school in Cardiff. The Cardiff Legion did an excellent job with the Colour Party and service. All were invited to the Legion for lunch and refreshments. I’m very proud and it was good to be together,” he says.

McKenzie said that the planning and setup of the ceremony hadn’t been too onerous. “When you do it every year it takes time and a little coordination. It never really changes so it’s a matter of the ladies putting their food together. Everyone kind of knows what they need to do and our Sargeant at Arms [Henry Dickinson] deserves some credit for running our Poppy campaign and organizing the whole thing,” he says.

Dickinson says it was a good crowd that ended up coming out to the ceremony. “The kids from the school were there, so it was great to see the kids out,” he says.

Suzanne Woodcox was the one that invited the kids from Cardiff Elementary to come out to the Remembrance Day ceremony, and she says as far as she knows, all the school’s kids were there that were at school on Nov. 11. “There’s only 42 of them over there, and we counted 30 some, so anyway, then we took them juice and snacks for them to have after the service,” she says. Woodcox reveals that the Legion had a poster contest for the primary grades (up to grade 3) across Canada, with the first-place finisher from each school being passed along to the provincial level for the next stage of the contest.

According to the Royal Canadian Legion national website, the poster contest is divided into two categories; colour and black and white. Entries are submitted at the branch level, then proceed to the provincial level and then the national level. Awards for winning entries are presented at all levels. Once the winning entries are forwarded to the national level, to the Legion National Foundation in Ottawa, a panel including artistic professionals, judge the artwork and the national winners are then named. Woodcox says that the Cardiff Elementary School students contributed about 15 posters and that they had the first, second and third place entries on a table in the next room. “They’re very creative and you have to love that they all tried hard to come up with something. It’s great to have the kids participate and be aware of what Remembrance Day is all about. And it’s not just the World Wars. It’s Afghanistan, it’s Croatia. People forget there’s lots of other wars,” she says. “You have to remind them.”

Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times