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Fort Macleod remembers the many sacrifices

Margaret Furman places a wreath on behalf of Canada's bereaved mothers

Fort Macleod residents paid tribute Friday to the sacrifices Canadians have made for freedom.
Close to 375 people packed the Fort Macleod and District Community Hall on Friday morning for the Remembrance Day service.
“We all owe an enormous debt from the moment we come into this world,” Rev. Eras Van Zyl said. “Some of that debt is owed to young men and women who shed their blood on battlefields, still even today at this very moment.”
“They gave their lives because they truly believed that freedom is worth dying for.”
The solemn ceremony included a parade of the colours led by piper Shawn Pinder to the community hall from the Royal Canadian Legion.
F.P. Walshe school bugler Carlin Van Driesten played “The Last Post,” after which two minutes of silence was observed.
Legion president George Fox read the Act of Remembrance, followed by Van Driesten playing “Rouse.”
Hymns, readings and the laying of 36 wreaths at the base of the cenotaph added to the ceremony.
An emotional moment for many came during the laying of wreaths, when World War Two navy veteran Harry Urwin, watched over by Mayor Shawn Patience, rose to place a wreath and salute his comrades.

Piper Shawn Pinder leads the colour guard to the community hall from the Royal Canadian Legion.

Rev. Van Zyl noted that memory is “a tricky thing,” and that it is important the sacrifices made for freedom are not forgotten.
“To honour their sacrifice is not to glorify war,” Rev. Van Zyl said. “We live in a cruel world where tyrants would impose their will on others.”
Young men and women have been sacrificed through the centuries in the cause of one noble idea after another, Rev. Van Zyl said.
“Some of these wars have been senseless and barbaric, to be sure,” Rev. Van Zyl said. “But others have been necessary. We honour the memory this day of those who have given their lives believing that they were making the world safer, freer and more humane.”
From 1914-’18 Canada, then a country with just over eight million people, sent 619,636 into the armed forces. Of that number, 66,655 died and another 172,950 were wounded.
In the six years of world War Two, from 1939 to 1945, more than one million Canadian men and women served in the armed forces. Of that number, more than 45,000 died for peace and freedom.
In the Korean War in the 1950s, 26,791 Canadians served, and another 7,000 were stationed there until 1995 as peacekeepers. Canada counted 1,558 casualties in the war, including 516 deaths.
One hundred and 58 Canadians have been killed in Afghanistan.
“When we look at our poppies today remember those who gave everything for freedom and peace,” Rev. Van Zyl said. “Remember the flag, the flag of Canada under which we serve and others have served and died. Remembrance Day reminds us that it is under the flag that we stand on guard for Canada.”

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