VIDEO: Agassiz, Harrison honour Remembrance Day

The parade marches down Highway 9 towards the cenotaph. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Legion president Gary Enright (left) and Padre David Price (right) during the singing of the hymn “How great thou art” at the Agassiz Remembrance Day ceremony. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
The Agassiz Christian School choir during their performance of “With my own two hands” at the Agassiz Remembrance Day ceremony. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Legion, fire department and RCMP members line up against the wall to watch the Agassiz Remembrance Day ceremony. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
The colour guard exits a full gymnasium during the Agassiz Remembrance Day ceremony. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Residents walk to the cenotaph from the AESS gymnasium during the Agassiz Remembrance Day ceremony. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
The parade marches down Highway 9 towards the cenotaph. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
The parade marches down Highway 9 towards the cenotaph. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
The parade marches down Highway 9 towards the cenotaph. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Different organizations, including one honouring veterans from the Afghanistan war, lay wreaths at the Agassiz cenotaph. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Sgt. Mike Sargent lays a wreath for the RCMP at the Agassiz cenotaph. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Organizations and businesses from around Agassiz and Harrison honoured the local veterans with wreaths at the cenotaph. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

The Agassiz Elementary Secondary School gym and the cenotaph were crowded with those honouring the veterans who sacrificed for their country on Monday, Nov. 11.

The gym was full for the Monday morning Remembrance Day ceremony, with seats and bleachers filled with residents from Agassiz and Harrison. Performances from the AESS band and the Agassiz Christian School, as well as hymns and anthems from the audience, peppered the speeches and benedictions given by the local church and youth leaders.

During the ceremony, those who died in both the first and second world wars were honoured with a call of remembrance. This year, Legion members Gary Stevenson, Jack Theriault and Tom Beil were also remembered, as they had passed away earlier this year.

Many of the speeches revolved around the importance of the sacrifice from so many veterans — not only those who died, but also those who survived with the terribly tragedy of war.

“To these men and women, I say, please know the deep compassion, respect and appreciation Canada and its citizens have for you,” Enright said. “You have faced great challenges in combat and conflict, and now you face challenge of recovery, and we know that you will meet that challenge with the same fortitude fighting enemies overseas. For this, we honour you.”

Following the ceremony at AESS, everyone was invited down to the cenotaph for a moment of silence and the laying of the wreaths.

The moment of silence, which took place at 11:00 a.m., joined Agassiz and Harrison residents with those around the country who were also silent at that moment, remembering those who had served their country.

This moment of unity echoed something Anglican minister Padre David Price said in his reflection during the ceremony at AESS.

“All these people gave up something so we could be free today, and we give you thanks. And we now have a responsibility to maintain the freedom, to maintain the ability to choose or not,” he said. “To make sure we form an inclusive society where everybody matters, no matter who you are, no matter how you worship or not worship. No matter what language you speak, what colour is your skin.

“No matter what, we are working to build an inclusive community of people.”

“Our people who fought in the various situations where Canada has been involved, were working to build peace. And we are called to be building peace today,” he continued. “So when hear things that are ungracious comments, when we hear things that are absolutely beyond the standard of Canada, it’s our responisbility to call it out — not just for ourselves, but also to give homage to all those who allowed us to have freedom here today.”

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