On Saturday, November 9th, the Markham District Veterans Association held a memorial service before the Remembrance Day Parade that started outside the MDVA on Washington Street and ended at the Veteran’s Square and Cenotaph.
Dignitaries in attendance included MP for Markham-Stouffville Helena Jaczek, MPP for Markham Stouffville Paul Calandra, MPP for Markham-Thornhill Logan Kanapathi, Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Deputy Mayor Don Hamilton, Regional Councillor Jack Heath and three Ward Councillors; Alan Hoe, Karen Rea, and Andrew Keyes.
The Reverend Greg Bailey presided over the ceremony and led in remembering and honoring those who have fought and fell for our freedom, for the peace and security we take for granted. Readings of “High Flight” by John Magee, verses from the Gospel of John and “In Flanders Fields” preceded Prayers for the Fallen, the Last Post, and God Save the Queen. Music by the Markham District High School Wind Symphony. There was standing room only.
Before the ceremony, at the cenotaph, a resident of Markham recalled that while she and her husband were still able, they had gone to Normandy and visited Juno Beach and the Abbey of the Ardennes. “There were beautiful gardens there, where the German SS had murdered twenty Canadians they had captured.”
In September, they went to Belgium and France to visit World War 1 graves in the Somme and Flanders. Her husband’s great grandfather, John Grant had fought with the 18th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force at Hill 70. She recalls, “It’s sad and sobering going to those places and seeing fifteen-year-olds lying in a grave. Or to stand in a cemetery and see other memorials and cemeteries on the horizon. It is dreadful. It makes you reflect on what you have.” She said that she is a believer in our veterans and grateful every day.
Pictured: Capt., the Rev’d Greg Bailey
Photo by Ning Gao