Notable absences at Remembrance Day ceremony


Christian Gammon-Roy


An emotional Remembrance Day ceremony was held at the Sturgeon Falls Legion on November 11th. The event attracted a crowd of well over 100 people who gathered at the cenotaph on River Street to pay respects to the fallen soldiers of past wars. Tears were also shed for Legion members who passed before this year’s ceremony, and who had played a significant role in the past.

The ceremony began with a march around the block. The procession of veterans and Legion members was led by a fire truck and tailed by a police cruiser as it made its way around via Holditch Street, and back down to the Legion. Upon arriving, their flags were held up by the cenotaph for the remainder of the ceremony.

Lori Richer, Royal Canadian Legion branch 225 president, led the ceremony. Chaplain Jason Belanger held a prayer, there was a short speech on behalf of the municipality from Mayor and Legion member Joanne Savage, and 2 minutes of silence were observed. Richer got very emotional as they prepared to recite In Flander’s Field. “I can’t even say his name without tearing up,” she expressed, speaking about the late Lionel Davidson. Davidson was a World War II veteran and long-time Legion member. He was a fixture at local Remembrance Day ceremonies, always reciting the poem from memory.

Wreaths were then laid in honour of those lost. Notably, the final wreath was laid in memory of Violet Clark, who had just passed on November 7th. This was the first ceremony without Clark, who was a Legion member and lifetime member of the Ladies Auxiliary. “She didn’t even have to pay any dues anymore. They just said: you’re a member for life, you’ve done enough for the Legion that we’re not going to require you to pay membership anymore,” laughed Richer. She called Clark “bound and determined” for showing up to last year’s Remembrance Day ceremony in very cold weather, at 103 years old and wheelchair-bound. “She stayed to the very last wreath!”

Following the ceremony, the Legion held a lunch in the hall and invited all attendees. Coffee, tea, sandwiches, and baked goods were on offer and the hall allowed everyone to sit and take a bit of an emotional break. It was also an opportunity for community members to sit and talk with each other and with the veterans in attendance.

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