Friday, July 19, 2024

Remembrance Day in the Pontiac

Remembrance in Shawville

Remembrance in Fort Coulonge

Remembrance in Sheenboro

Camilla Faragalli
sHeenboro, Nov. 11, 2023
Poppy-clad Sheenboro residents gathered at the cenotaph outside of St. Paul the Hermit Parish on Remembrance Day to acknowledge, to remember, and to celebrate.
Lorna Brennan Agnesi was one among the dozens; her two uncles, Loyd Gleeson and Patrick Brennan, fought in WWII.
“I feel sad but I feel proud of all the soldiers who fought in the war and gave their life for the war,” she said. “There aren’t too many of them left around here today.”
Following a moment of silence and the tolling of the church bell, Michael Fox and Brian Adam shared moving accounts of their family members’ time at war (Michael Fox Sr. and Stanley Keon, respectively).
Attendees were then individually called to lay commemorative wreaths at the foot of the monument, to honour their departed loved ones.
Billy Brennan, who coordinated the ceremony, was also one of four men responsible for erecting the cenotaph about twenty years ago.
“We did that, then went and had a little celebration every year on Remembrance Day,” he said. “Covid hit, we kind of slowed down, but we always kept going.”
Brennan, whose own father was in the army, said he felt the event was of great importance.
“There were a lot of people from Sheen’ [that] went to this church, belonged to this church, that got killed in action,” he said.
“That’s why we want to keep it going, and keep remembering.”

Remembrance Day in Danford Lake

Sophie Kuijper Dickson
Alleyn-et-Cawood Nov. 11, 2023
Residents of Pontiac’s easternmost municipality, Alleyn-et-Cawood, gathered around their cenotaph on Saturday morning to remember and honour all the ways war has touched their community.
A group of soldiers from 3RCF CFB Petawawa joined the community, commonly known as Danford Lake, for the event.
The ceremony opened, as most do, with the national anthem, the Last Post, and a moment of silence. Flags were lowered and raised, wreaths were laid, and Reverend Eric Morin shared scripture readings and prayer.
Councillor Gerald Stevenson laid a wreath for the unknown soldier.
“I don’t have a personal connection, but it’s just nice to remember the unknown ones. The unknown soldiers are just as important as all the rest of them,” Stevenson said.
The community also added its own tradition. Attendees lined up to read out the names of those who have served or who are currently serving.
The twentieth annual Remembrance Day ceremony was organized by Danford Lake’s two-person cenotaph committee, Glenda Emery Squitti and Wendy Merrifield Miljour.
Wendy’s father Gilbert Merrifield was a veteran and made the first donation towards purchasing a cenotaph for the community, which was installed 21 years ago.
“We’re a small community, everybody’s close and we include children in the events,” Squitti said of the sizable turnout to the ceremony, which included participation from many children.
“They enjoy it too and they have a lot of questions,” she added. “It’s good for them to know about respect for the people who serve our country and remember that they can enjoy the idea that we are free because of all the people who have served and given that to us.”
After the ceremony, attendees were invited to the community’s Bethany Hall to warm up and share a meal.

McDowell Elementary Remembers

Glen Hartle
Shawville Nov. 10, 2023
Students and staff at Dr. S.E. McDowell Elementary School gathered in unity for Remembrance Day on Friday and put on a poignant display of youth partnered with an undiminished adherence to the tenets of commemoration, setting in motion the pieces for a lifelong understanding of this very special day in the history of our country and of the world.
Grade I French immersion teacher Kaitlin Hearty organized the ceremony and relied upon the voices of the youngest at the school in crafting a backdrop against which the overall event took place.
The emcees for the ceremony were students themselves, and they shared the duty equally and in both languages. Jack Sally, Blake Barber, Chase Dubeau and Kameron Nguyen directed the flow of things through words of explanation, purpose, affirmation and, finally, remembrance. Daniel Dowe assisted them as usher.
The ceremony began with a truly moving rendition of O Canada where one could barely hear a murmur of voices at the outset and by the last ringing out of “Stand on guard for thee”, the whisper had become near colossal and then faded back to the silence whence it had been born – as if to reach out to Flanders Field directly. It was vocal parity to the Last Post.
It is here where the creative genius of Hearty took flight as the voices of some seventy-nine students aged four to seven, The Gingerbread Choir, led by teacher Bonnie Richardson, resounded in the lightly lit school gymnasium. Accompanied by Greg MacIntosh on keyboard, Matt Lottes on bass guitar and Jill Tracy on flute, they sang wonderfully subdued and yet vibrant versions of three different numbers: Children of the Light / Tous Ensemble, Circle of Song and Une Colombe. The bleachers high above the gym were filled with a variety of students, family, and members of the school.
With arms waving in the air in choreographed and somewhat-synchronous movements, the young choir gathered momentum and confidence from their lead-off number, Children of the Light/Tous Ensemble. “We are children, children of the light. We are shining in the darkness of the night.”
Accompanying the second piece, Circle of Song, four youth stepped forward individually and at coordinated intervals with the choir, offering vocal testimonials. The song was written by Tony Turner, born in British Columbia’s Nanaimo and a local contemporary collaborator of well-known artist Ian Tamblyn.
The song’s delivery was artistically charming and thematically affecting. The choir started and then silenced while Dean Pawlett took the mic and led things off. He was followed by Zach Gauthier, Ethan Thomas and Nora Mackechnie and at each speaker’s final word, the choir would rebound enthusiastically, ensuring that the circle remained complete. “In the circle of song we are one.”
Lynn Spencer offered a heartfelt rendition of Celine Dion’s Une Colombe (“A Dove”) with the choir as background. While the lyrics carried the message, her voice levied the emotion: “A dove went on a journey, around the world, she carries her message of peace, love and friendship - and it’s her youth that makes her fly.”
Just before the laying of the wreaths, a beautifully-rendered slide show and accompanying parole for McDowell’s service family was offered. As images graced the gym wall with dated and current photos of service members related in some way to the school, the children stood one by one and offered words of remembrance for each.
The school’s underlying mission was on display: “Through teamwork, collaboration, and cooperation, the school community strives to create a safe and caring learning environment. Our goal is to ensure that each individual develops as a life-long learner.”
The next generation of remembrance is well under way and it is imbued with a strong sense of purpose thanks to the care and dedication of the McDowell School family.

Remembrance at Sieur-de-Coulonge

Pierre Cyr
Fort Coulonge Nov. 10, 2023
As part of Veterans’ Week from November 5 to 11, École secondaire Sieur-de-Coulonge (ESSC) invited Bombardier L.W.B. Girard of the Second Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, Canadian Armed Forces, to speak with students.
Girard himself is an ESSC alumnus and resident of Fort Coulonge. He joined the artillery seven years ago, is based at CFB Petawawa and will be deployed for a military exercise later this year.
During his visit, Girard met with secondary 3, 4 and 5 students, and also made a lunchtime presentation in the media library attended by another 20 students who showed a keen interest in understanding the work of the artillery.
In his discussion with students, Girard made the point that Remembrance Day is not just remembering those who died in war, but also those who survived, sometimes with physical or psychological after-effects.

PHS marks Remembrance Day

On Thursday, November 9, the Pontiac High School community celebrated Remembrance Day in the PHS gymnasium.
Our traditions at PHS are well established and appreciated by the whole school, and this year was no different.
The event began with a rendition of “The Forgotten,” by Bailey Beardsley. Holly Anabelle Smith then read the venerable In Flanders Fields by Lieutenant John McCrae. Next, the Legion’s prayer of invocation was read by Amy-Lynn Moffitt and Oh Canada was sung by all in attendance.
Issac Graham recited war time poetry and then narrated as the photographs of Shawville’s veterans were displayed on the main screen. Brooklyn Pachal then shared her personal and touching perspective as a daughter of a serving Canadian Forces, military member.
In a very special moment, Amy-Lynn Moffitt sang, “We’ll meet again,” by Vera Lynn, a wartime favourite and a song fondly remembered by Queen Elizabeth just before her passing.
Following the Last Post, two minutes of silence, and the Rouse, Dr. Burns encouraged the student body to keep the memory of the fallen alive and to be a generation that protects the glory of our nation and its precious freedoms.
Holly Anabelle Smith, the Vice President of the Student Council remarked, “It was an honour to be involved in such an important moment and a positive experience as we receive the responsibility to ‘carry the torch.’”
Our Student Council President, Amy-Lynn Moffitt added that, “As a first-time participant in Remembrance Day commemorations, it was a unique experience and I want people to never forget to take this day seriously and keep the important traditions of Remembrance Day alive for future generations.”
The Student Council Executive summarized the event saying, “The student body was very appreciative of the efforts of all involved and ‘it seemed to all come together.”
The Student Body would like to thank community members who joined us for this special time together.

Special submission to THE EQUITY from
Amy-Lynn Moffitt and Holly Anabelle Smith,
Grade 11 PHS Student Council Executive Members

Remembrance in Bristol

SHAWVILLE Nov. 4, 2023
The Municipality of Bristol held its annual Remembrance Day ceremony at the cenotaph in Bristol village. More than one hundred people converged at a corner once integral to the lives of the pioneers who settled there with the memorial lying at the junction of three routes: Aylmer Road – the conduit from Aylmer to Portage, Bristol Road – the way up from the steamboat landing, and River Road – the road to the first school and mill.
Council member Greg Graham led the ceremony as emcee and accompanying him was Laird Graham, long time participant, on the keyboard.
The brisk air did nothing to abate the sentiments of honouring the past. Graham was warm and efficient in running things, and after God Save the King, the national anthem, Amazing Grace and the Last Post, Father Christian Kalkule, from St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Parish, offered a soft-spoken prayer and local resident Bill Smith recited In Flanders’ Fields.
Following Smith, a solemn parade as wreaths were laid at the base of the cenotaph. Mayor Brent Orr led off, on behalf of the nation of Canada and the people of Bristol. He was followed by representatives of the parishes of Andrew’s Knox United Church, Bristol Memorial Presbyterian Church and St. Edward The Confessor Catholic Church.
A new member of the Bristol Fire Department, Yaroslav Mykulych came next. He and his family have been welcomed into the community following the ongoing war in their native Ukraine and his expression seemed to carry depth as he stood before the monument commemorating soldiers of a different country and time from his own, perhaps surrogates for him on this day.
Rounding out the wreaths were representatives of the Bristol Community Association and First Bristol Girl Guides.
Following the completion of the ceremony, Graham invited everyone present to attend a luncheon at the Jack Graham Bristol Community Centre where hot and cold beverages were offered along with sandwiches, wraps and squares. Some fifty people took Graham up on the offer and attended the luncheon with soft chatter taking place around the room.


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