Remembrance Day attracts a cross section of Powassan community

·2 min read

Several dozen residents, young and old, attended a Remembrance Day ceremony in Powassan Thursday at the local cenotaph.

Dominique Girard, the Sergeant-at-Arms of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 453 officiated the ceremony.

“Today we honour our comrades who paid the ultimate price,” Girard said.

“But we can't forget the survivors with injuries that you can't see like PTSD. Today we honour all veterans who served and are serving.”

Girard said because of COVID-19 restrictions, there would be no wreathes laid.

Instead, dignitaries each walked up to the cenotaph and placed a single poppy.

Among individuals laying a poppy were representatives from the Canadian Armed Forces, the Powassan OPP, officials from the federal and provincial governments and individuals representing the municipalities of Chisholm and Powassan, including Powassan Mayor Peter McIsaac.

Also laying a poppy was Arlene Hummel, who represented the Silver Cross Mothers for the Powassan area.

Both of Hummel's parents served in World War 2.

Her dad was a flying officer with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and her mother was a leading airwoman with the RCAF.

Hummel's mom stayed in Ontario packing parachutes for the military personnel who would have to jump out of planes over Europe.

In fact, the bombing and gunnery training school in Ontario where her mother was trained also instructed people from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Hummel says her dad had two brothers who fought in the Second World War and her mom had three brothers.

Everyone came back and no one was injured.

Hummel, who is 74, said Remembrance Day is always an emotional time and is made even more emotional when bagpipes are part of the ceremony.

COVID restricted who could take part at the local event.

For example, there was no representation from the scouts, cubs, brownies or guides.

For Hummel, it's important that young children be part of these events in the future because they “get to see the importance of peace.

“That's how we base our future and that there's hope for the children with peace,” she said.

“Right now there's a lot of turmoil in the world. And if children can see that suffering should not continue, then we have hope for the future.”

Quite a few members of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 453 were present at the ceremony which also included a reading of an Honour Roll of Powassan veterans who are no longer with us.

In acknowledging all the sacrifices they have made both today and in the past, Girard ended the ceremony with the phrase “we don't know them all, but we owe them all.”

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget

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