Tudor and Cashel celebrate Remembrance Day with drive-in ceremony

·5 min read

Tudor and Cashel Township celebrated their modified Remembrance Day service on Nov. 11 with a drive-in ceremony held at their war memorial inside Gilmour cemetery. It was also the 30th anniversary of their war memorial. It was simulcast on the radio, at 107.7 FM, for those who wanted to listen in, but not be there in person due to concerns about the pandemic. Fifteen cars came by and drove in to the cemetery in front of the war memorial and roughly 40 people were present throughout the service. While some elected to stay in their vehicles, most got out and took in the service wearing masks and remaining at least six feet apart to abide by COVID-19 restrictions.

Cloudy skies did not diminish the desire of those who attended the drive-in Remembrance Day ceremony to pay their respects to our men and women in Canada’s armed forces. Warrant officer James McDonald with the Canadian Forces Joint Signal Regiment and captain Hansen Tan with the Canadian Forces Intelligence Group were in attendance representing the Canadian military, while Mayor Libby Clarke and Councillor Roy Reeds were there representing Tudor and Cashel Township. Limerick Township Mayor Carl Stefanski also attended the service.

In deference to the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 and on the advice of Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, the eight wreaths were already placed at the base of the memorial, whereas in previous years they would have been placed during the ceremony. The wreaths were given and placed by Community Care Madoc, Central Hastings Family Health Team, Heart of Hastings Hospice, Tudor and Cashel Township, In Memory of George and Fred Scaife, the government of Canada, the province of Ontario and one In Memory of the Unknown Soldier.

Matthew McMurray is an audiotechnician who works at Carleton University and he handled all the audio duties that morning, including the microphones and amplifiers and making sure the service was transmitted over the radio. His father is the pastor at the local church, Mount Zion Church, and he says he was handling the sound board there from the age of 12 years, and he says he is mostly self-taught.

“This is the church’s equipment, so we just brought it down and set it up here this morning. We have the radio transmitter going too, so if people didn’t want to be out of their vehicles, they could tune in on the radio at 107.7 FM,” he says.

The event started at 10:45 a.m. with the singing of O Canada, with local resident Patricia Croghan providing musical accompaniment on her accordion. This was followed by a pre-recorded playing of the Last Post, followed by two minutes of silence.

Clarke then read the Act of Remembrance, which was followed by Alyssa Carrol reciting In Flanders’ Fields, by Lt. Col. John McCrae M.D.

Next, Wanda Donaldson approached the microphone and read off a list of all the residents of Tudor and Cashel who had fought and died in wars to protect our freedom. She also recited a prayer for the nation, a prayer for its citizens and a prayer for the armed forces.

The latter was read as follows;

Almighty God,

we comment to your gracious care and keeping,

all the men and women in our armed forces at home and abroad,

defend them day by day with your heavenly grace,

strengthen them in their trials and temptations,

and give them courage to face the perils that beset them,

and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be,

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

Amen.

Joan Donaldson then sang the hymn, “Abide with Me,” and then Clarke asked everyone to sing along to the hymn “O God Our Help in Ages Past.” At that point, the sunshine pierced through the clouds as everyone’s voices were raised in song, prompting everyone to sing just a little louder.

Clarke then recited Lest We Forget, and the service came to a close. She thanked everyone for taking the time to come out that morning to the township’s Remembrance Day ceremony.

“And you are all cordially invited to pick up a lunch to go, courtesy of Tudor and Cashel and the government of Canada in the township parking lot. Thank you very much!”

The lunch was prepared by Mary Fox, Joan Donaldson, Joanne Carrol, Jo-Anne Carrol, Jackie Scott, Alyssa Carrol, Violet Plumbe and several other volunteers, who got there at 7:30 a.m. to put it all together. It consisted of soup, crackers, a sandwich, cookies and an apple.

Shawn Gauthier says it was his first time attending a service at the memorial. He moved here from Alberta a couple of years ago.

“They seem to have cancelled everything everywhere else. It’s a good thing that they have this,” he says.

Sandra and Ray Peters were there and remained in their car. Sandra said that Ray had lost some uncles in the Second World War.

“I think this modified ceremony is a good idea. As long as it’s done, that’s all that matters,” she says.

Joan Tripp arrived in her ATV, coming to honour the memory of her uncle Aaron Cooney, who fought in the Second World War and her grandfather Arthur Cooney, who fought in the First World War. She relayed a funny story about her uncle Aaron;

“He joined the army before he was old enough, and then my grandmother had him brought back home. By the time they got him home, he had turned of age, so he then joined the navy. I think there were quite a few young men who joined before they were old enough back then,” she says.

Overall, she thought the whole service was great and felt that it couldn’t have gone any better.

“The day turned out well, and it didn’t rain. Everything was perfect.”

Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times