Yesterday morning a large group convened at East Ferris’ Memorial Park to honour fallen veterans and thank all members of the Canadian Armed Forces for their services. Many veterans were in attendance, as were members of the 2nd Regiment from the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery from Petawawa.
Many elementary students from Ferris Glen Public School and École élémentaire catholique Saint-Thomas D’Aquin attended, two of whom recited John McCrae’s In Flanders Fields to the crowd.
Wreaths were laid at the foot of the cenotaph by the Silver Cross Mother, Anthony Rota (represented by Matt Sookram, as Rota was out of town), Vic Fedeli, and the Department of Veteran Affairs.
The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 455 in Callander laid a wreath, as did 22 Wing, CFB North Bay, and the Algonquin Regiment. Mayor Pauline Rochefort placed a wreath on behalf of East Ferris, and the Township of Chisholm laid one as well.
The OPP and members of the East Ferris Police Services Board and East Ferris volunteer fire department also paid respects by laying wreaths from their organizations. The Knights of Columbus, Catholic Women’s League, Memorial Park Committee, and the East Ferris Club Action 50+ also placed wreaths at the cenotaph.
Mayor Rochefort thanked all for attending, noting the gathering allowed “everyone as a community to remember and honour those who on our behalf are advancing peace and security in the world.”
With sadness, she noted this year’s ceremony “was missing a very important citizen who would have wanted to be here today.” Mayor Rochefort mentioned Graham Elliott, a WWII veteran who landed on the beaches of Normandy as part of D-Day in 1944.
“Mr. Elliott always said he was so very proud to have served and defended his country,” Mayor Rochefort said, noting that “only a few weeks ago, he would have turned 98.” He passed away a few days before reaching this milestone, a loss “that broke everyone’s heart.”
Rochefort emphasized the importance of carrying on “the memory of his sacrifice, and the values that he fought for,” values which “can live on through all of us.” She noted the many names engraved on East Ferris’ cenotaph, “and the cenotaphs across the land.”
“We renew our commitment to remembering that freedom is not free.” She also thanked those currently serving “for your sacrifice.”
“We owe you our deepest gratitude.”
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca