Cold not a barrier for Regina residents on Remembrance Day

Residents of all ages were in attendance for the Remembrance Day ceremony at Victoria Park in Regina. (Alexander Quon/CBC - image credit)
Residents of all ages were in attendance for the Remembrance Day ceremony at Victoria Park in Regina. (Alexander Quon/CBC - image credit)

Regina residents had no problem braving the cold to attend a Remembrance Day ceremony at the Victoria Park cenotaph.

Even as temperatures hovered around –17 C at 11 a.m. — and felt like –27 with the wind chill — hundreds showed up to pay their respects on Friday.

They stood in the park's central square and on the sidewalks, and when those were full they stood on the snow-covered grass.

Some children even climbed snowbanks in an attempt to get a better look as the Last Post rang out.

Alexander Quon/CBC
Alexander Quon/CBC

Some at the ceremony, which lasted approximately 45 minutes, said the freezing cold was just part of the experience.

"I walked from my home near Balfour school to get here … and I'm thinking, you know what? That's not as bad as what our vets in World War I [experienced], that were so close to those other trenches, and having bullets zip over their head," said Ken Pilon.

"I can make that small sacrifice."

CBC
CBC

Pilon said he has had family members who served in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Like Pilon, some attendees said they came for personal reasons: to commemorate a family member or loved one who died in service of their country.

Others said they had no personal connection but were just there to pay their respects, fulfilling a duty that they couldn't over the past two years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carolyn Welder and her husband, Gary Welder, said they were not bothered by the cold.

"It doesn't matter to me how cold it is out. It's small in relation to the amount of discomfort that the soldiers felt when they were fighting during those wars," Carolyn said.

CBC
CBC

The couple said members of their extended family had served in the two world wars, and their son served as a combat engineer for four years. He even deployed to Latvia.

"It's just really important to honour all of those who serve and to recognize that the peace we have in this country, we wouldn't have if it hadn't been for their sacrifices," Carolyn said.

Brad Hrycyna, a retired major who served for 37 years in the Canadian Army and as a reservist, is now president of the Royal United Services Institute of Regina.

He signed up after graduating high school. Military service was never a family tradition but was a way he felt he could serve his country, Hrycyna said.

Alexander Quon/CBC
Alexander Quon/CBC

On Friday he thanked those who came out.

Attendance at Remembrance Day ceremonies matters, he said, "not only for the over 118,000 of our servicemen and women who have been killed in Canada's wars and conflicts, but also those who served in peacetime or served in the wars and came home alive."