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Fort Macleod marks Remembrance Day

Master Corporal Bill Russell

Master Corporal Bill Russell places a wreath for veterans of Canadian Armed Forces.

It was standing room only Wednesday at the Fort Macleod and District Community Hall for the annual Remembrance Day ceremony.
Close to 600 people packed the hall for the ceremony hosted by Branch No. 26 of the Royal Canadian Legion.
Trinity United Church minister Rev. Eras Van Zyl title his address “Living Memory — Enduring Hope.”
“We are here to remember, to give thanks to our almighty God for women and men and to remember the ultimate sacrifices they made,” Rev. Van Zyl said.
Rev. Van Zyl said one of the things to remember on Nov. 11 is the effect of war on the world
He noted that between 1500 B.C. and 1860 A.D. — a period of about 3,300 years — 8,000 peace treaties were signed to end war.
“They lasted an average of two years each,” Rev. Van Zyl said.
In 3,300 years of recorded history there were few days without war somewhere in the world. Since Word War Two there have been just 26 days without war.
Rev. Van Zyl listed current war zones, including Afghanistan, Iraq Libya, the Congo and Somalia.
“We remember today that effects of war on our world, and its people, have always been huge and continue to be, even in this modern era,” Rev. Van Zyl said. “Hence, the importance of this day.”
People fought and died for freedom, Rev. Van Zyl said.
“The memory of the women and men who paid the highest price for the freedoms the world enjoy, have left for us an enduring memory; a memory we humbly honour today because they died for our and our children’s future,” Rev. Van Zyl said. “What we do here today, the involvement we see here today, all over Canada, and the world is none other than a sign of our recommitment to the goal of peace and justice.”
Remembrance Day, he said, is about remembering the fallen, the wounded and the broken who were willing to serve in uniform and stand on battle lines. It is also about remembering the families and friends of all soldiers.
“I believe Remembrance Day answers the question is peace possible?” Rev Van Zyl said. “I believe the answer is yes.”
To make peace possible we must honour the soldiers who have died in war, honour the future of our children, and love God and serve Him faithfully.
“This is the lesson of Remembrance Day. To hear the story of ordinary women and men who put on uniforms and who in their own opinions ultimately really didn’t do anything extra-ordinary, but simply did what was asked of them. Their lives are honourable and we honour them today.”
The service included a gun salute by the 20th Independent Field Battery, which was set up in the riding arena at The Fort — Museum of the North West Mounted Police.
The colours were carried by the 2309 Fort Macleod Army Cadets, who were led into the community hall by the Alexies R. Regier Memorial Pipes and Drums.
Following O Canada, the prayer of invocation by Rev. Eras Van Zyl and the Last Post, two minutes of silence were observed.
Piper Vance McGrath played a lament after which Fort Macleod Legion president George Fox gave the Act of Remembrance.
After the audience responded, “We shall remember them,” Reveille was played.
Trinity United Church choir accompanied by pianist Marg Hart led the singing of hymns, Laura Martin gave the scripture reading and the audience recited the iconic poem In Flanders Fields.
More than 32 wreaths were placed at the base of the cenotaph under the watchful eye of two RCMP members who stood guard throughout the ceremony.