PICTOU — A clear, cold day on Sunday marked the return of Standard Time and the occasion of the 83rd Pictou County Remembrance Day parade and service.
Harsh sun cast long shadows and blustery winds challenged presenters and prompted Bill Echlin from Branch 16 of the Royal Canadian Legion to advise those laying wreaths to secure them on the grass.
A parade down Church Street preceded the service and included members of a pipe band and representatives of various Legions and military services.
Local chaplain Adeline Luckie of Abercrombie shared opening and closing prayers.
Guest speaker Verdon Locke from Durham shared two selected submissions to help him pay tribute to current and former members of the Canadian military.
“For over 50 years, the Royal Canadian Legion has sponsored annual poster and literary contests consisting of posters, essays and poems,” he said. “The contest is open to students throughout this great country and is divided into three categories: junior, intermediate and senior.”
The essays Locke shared were written in 1943 by “a young lady” who was not named and in 2016 by Anika O’Neil from Bellisle Creek, N.B.
Locke said he could relate to O’Neil’s account that included standing at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.
“While posted to National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa in 1997, my Chief Warrant Officer informed me he needed a Sergeant Major to handle the parade on the 11th,” he recalled. “My response was … ‘Yes Chief, it will be a pleasure,’ while under my breath I was saying something completely different.”
He said he had many duties to perform throughout 35 years in uniform that included preparing the parade for those enduring the outdoor chill to take part in it.
“I realized then that I was not doing an extra duty, but I was simply doing my duty,” he said.
He referred again to O’Neil’s assertion regarding those who have served Canada that “our role is to remember them with our silence, acknowledge them with our thanks and honour them with our poppies.”