N.L.'s fallen soldiers honoured in Remembrance Day ceremonies

Members of the military, politicians and hundreds of onlookers gathered Friday morning for a sombre Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial in St. John's. (Malone Mullin/CBC - image credit)
Members of the military, politicians and hundreds of onlookers gathered Friday morning for a sombre Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial in St. John's. (Malone Mullin/CBC - image credit)
Malone Mullin/CBC
Malone Mullin/CBC

Hundreds gathered in downtown St. John's to pay respects to fallen soldiers at the National War Memorial on Friday morning.

In a sharp departure from recent ceremonies held under pandemic restrictions, a tight crowd formed around military officials and members of the Royal Canadian Legion as politicians lay wreaths and poppies at the foot of the memorial.

"It's a time of reflection," said Gerald Budden, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador chapter of the Legion.

"You kind of visualize and think about the experiences that people went through, especially in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and other wars in between that — and what the soldiers, the men and women, did for the province and the nation."

Spectators surrounding the memorial observed a moment of silence.

Malone Mullin/CBC
Malone Mullin/CBC

Jake Evans, 13, was among them, there to "remember what people in the war sacrificed."

Evans, part of a cluster of Boy Scouts quietly watching the ceremony, described mixed feelings as the parade marched past.

"A little sad," he said, as the troop's leader, Raymond Collins, explained the scouts had been to The Rooms last week to learn about the province's military history. Today, he said, would expand on that lesson.

"Just to understand the history, the reason why we do this — and why we don't want to have to do it again," Collins said.

Jeremy Eaton/CBC
Jeremy Eaton/CBC

Dave Taylor and his 14-year-old son Alex came to honour their grandfather and great-grandfather, Victor Taylor.

Victor served in the First World War as part of the Blue Puttees, the group of Newfoundland soldiers who were the first to enter the war. He survived the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel, the deadliest battle of the entire war for the province.

Dave says he visits the memorial on Remembrance Day to respect his grandfather and his other family members who fought.

"To come down here and see the great crowd of people around is awesome," he said.

Although Alex never had the chance to meet his great-grandfather, he says his dad has taught him a lot about Victor.

"It means a lot to me to remember them and to respect them for what they gave to us and overall just how much they did," said Alex.

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