Hundreds gather for Remembrance Day ceremony at Halifax's Grand Parade

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People take part in Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Grand Parade in Halifax. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press - image credit)
People take part in Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Grand Parade in Halifax. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press - image credit)

More than 1,000 people stood under sunny skies at Halifax's Grand Parade on Thursday for a sombre ceremony to honour and remember those who have served their country.

The Remembrance Day service welcomed members of the public after people were asked to watch the event from home last year due to the ongoing pandemic.

But COVID-19 protocols and restrictions were in place, including a mask requirement and mandatory proof of vaccination for those who wished to stand on the grounds in front of city hall.

People bowed their heads as a number of cannon shots rang out from nearby Citadel Hill over the sound of bagpipes.

Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press
Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

A Canadian flag flapped in the wind at half mast as a trumpeter played The Last Post near the cenotaph.

A number of dignitaries were in attendance and presented wreaths to be laid on the large stone monument, including Lt.-Gov. Arthur LeBlanc, MP Andy Fillmore and Halifax Mayor Mike Savage.

Those who wished not to show proof of vaccination were welcome to watch the ceremony from Argyle Street and lay a wreath once the service was finished.

Glen Leduc, who co-ordinated and emceed the ceremony, said although it came with operational challenges, it was important to open the ceremony back up to the public.

"It's a visual sign of the appreciation that people feel for the veterans," said Leduc during an interview. "It's also a sign that we are perhaps coming from under the cloud of COVID."

Murray Ritch, who donned a poppy as he stood among the crowd, said it's very important to "maintain the memories of days gone by and the sacrifices Canadians made."

He described how his father served on HMCS Collingwood during the Second World War, a corvette that did escort duty between St. John's, N.L., and Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

"To see the size and cramped accommodations, those are just little tin cans," said Ritch.

"It's very important to think about and remember that it's not a bunch of old [veterans] you would see marching here in legion. Those were kids."

It was also noted during the ceremony that this is the 100th anniversary of the poppy, which has become a symbol of Remembrance Day.

Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press
Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

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