It was a sunny, crisp morning at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month. As I warmed up an hour later, sipping hot chocolate and snacking on a cruller at Ashcroft Legion Branch #113, I heard a question in the conversation around me: “What was the moment that did it for you?”
Was it the vigil sentries standing guard, serious and immobile in two corners of the cenotaph, for the entire service? The Colour Party parading and holding the ﬂags with reverence and pride? Our national anthem sung a cappella with clarity and feeling? The steady transﬁxing drumbeat of “Soldier Boy”?
The melancholy notes of the bugle in “The Last Post”? The regal presence of a bald eagle perched on a nearby tree? The sacrosanct two minutes of silence and reﬂection? The reading of the Act of Remembrance and the repetition of the pledge “We will remember them”? The haunting, lonely sounds of the bagpipes? The tolling of the ship’s bell, the clapper struck one hundred times? The four CT-155 Hawk aircraft roaring overhead in tight formation? The touching stories of those in the front lines?
The empowering prayer for hope, love, and enduring peace? The young cadets in uniform, accompanying dignitaries and laying wreaths at the foot of the war memorial? The crowd of respectful citizens wearing the symbolic red poppy? The heart-wrenching music and lyrics of “In Flanders Fields”?
In assembling and standing together in commemoration, we strengthen our community. We may experience the solemness differently, but the shared event uniﬁes us.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the Legion for fostering the tradition of Remembrance and reminding us to keep “the torch; be yours to hold it high” in our collective memory.