Long-time Taylor resident and Korean War veteran Bob Reid was honoured during Remembrance Day ceremonies on Thursday.
Reid, 90, received a Quilt of Valour as a surprise gift in honour of his service. Reid joined the war when he was only 15 and served as a paratrooper, dropping from planes both during the quiet of the night and during the day.
"Today, we remember those who have felt the call to serve their country, knowing that simple decision carries the cost of separation from loved ones at the very least and for many, the final cost of never returning home to that same table again," said Pastor Wally Pohlmann, who opened the ceremony and spoke of the numerous sacrifices made by Canada over the years.
The small ceremony was closed to public this year and broadcast online for all to watch. Despite the limited setting, dignitaries and speakers spoke of the value of the Remembrance Day, and its importance to the community and Canadians across the country.
Taylor Fire Rescue Lt. Kristine Doerksen talked about the horrors of First World War experienced by her great-grandfather, who served with the Scottish regiment. A stray mortar shell buried him alive during the brutal war, with his helmet being his saving grace, providing a small pocket of oxygen while his comrades fished him out from the dirt piled on top of him.
"He trained for only two weeks in Vancouver before being shipped off to Liverpool and over to France, where they eventually landed in Vimy Ridge. The stories told are ones that most of us would never have to endure," Doerksen said. "When they were in the trenches the bottom of the kilts would get so packed with mud that they'd have to use their knives to cut off the mud, and over time their kilts would get shorter and shorter."
Taylor Mayor Rob Fraser spoke at length about the 1968 Petawawa incident, where seven paratroopers drowned in the Ottawa River just off Wegner Point. His father was training as a paratrooper at that time and knew the men who lost their lives in the peacetime incident.
"Every year on November 11 we gather to honour the sacrifices made by soldiers everywhere to preserve the peace, protect our democracy and way of life," Fraser said.
Pohlmann said today's generation are the witnesses for those who took up arms, and that we must remember to honour the phrase 'Lest We Forget'.
"Our country has a young history in comparison to other countries around the world, but yet Canada is remembered by many for what we did for them - for freedom we helped give to them at the cost of our persons and our own families," said Pohlmann.
"The truth is that freedom is not just a local endeavour that a country works at. For those who achieve freedom, much is asked of them by still others who desire freedom."
Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News