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Fort Macleod marks Remembrance Day

RCMP Sgt. Bryan Mucha salutes at the foot of the cenotaph.

A flock of Canada geese honked its way over Fort Macleod on Wednesday morning, as a large crowd below observed a moment of silence.

Fort Macleod’s Remembrance Day service was staged outdoors at the cenotaph on Second Avenue under COVID-19 pandemic precautions.

That was a change from the service traditionally held in the community hall that attracts close to 500 people every year.

Close to 100 people braved -8 Celsius temperatures for a 40-minute service led by Royal Canadian Navy veteran Tony Miller.

“Every year at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we gather in memorial parks, community halls, workplaces, schools and homes to stand in honour of all who have fallen,” Miller said.

“Together, we observe a moment of silence to mark the sacrifice of many who have fallen in the service of their country, and to acknowledge the courage of those who still serve.”

The singing of O Canada was followed by a prayer and invocation by Rev. MiYeon Kim, minister at Trinity United Church.

Legion president Ken Fenton recited the Act of Remembrance, followed by Rev. Kim singing the hymn O God of Every Nation.

Fort Macleod Mayor Brent Feyter said the idea of remembrance is critical.

“Often, our freedoms can be compromised so quick when the forces of evil wish to destroy,” Feyter said. “Today we are remembering those who stood strong, who made that sacrifice, who went the distance, who gave of themselves that we today can be here in freedom.”

Feyter said the cenotaph, flags and other symbols serve to help us remember.

“Today is so much about remembering the sacrifice that was given,” Feyter said. “We appreciate being here today. Together as a community we want to remember those — many who are listed on our cenotaph — who have given their lives for us so we can be here today in freedom.”

Donna Fenton recited In Flanders Fields, followed by the playing of The Last Post. After two minutes of silence, Reveille sounded.

In an act of COVID-19 caution, the wreaths had been placed ahead of time.

The wreaths represented Canada’s Bereaved Mothers, the governments of Canada and Alberta, the Town of Fort Macleod, and veterans of World War One and World War Two.

The wreaths also represented veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces, Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Air Force, the Korean War, the Afghanistan War, the United Nations and NATO Forces.

Wreaths also represented the people of occupied Holland, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 46, Ladies Auxiliary to the Royal Canadian Legion, First Nations, and the memory of Lance Cpl. Richard Hutton.

Rev. Kim gave the prayer and benediction, and the service ended with the playing of God Save the Queen.