There was a full house in Virden Aud Theatre for the Remembrance Day service, Sunday, Nov. 11.
The crowd gathered to pay tribute to Armed Forces veterans of the two world wars, the Korean War, the Afghanistan conflict, and other peace keeping missions throughout the world, particularly remembering those who paid the supreme sacrifice.
Padre Matt Koovisk conducted the service in the Aud, joined by Deacon Anna Sproule who read from St. John’s gospel, “No one has greater love than if he lays down his life for his friends….”
The Padre’s message focused on the 100th Anniversary of WWI Armistice which followed 100 days of intense fighting.
In his introduction he brought scenes of trench warfare to mind:
“In the forefront of many our minds this day is that we’re only minutes away from the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. As I was preparing for this service, an interesting article came across my computer screen. It was from a news outlet in the United Kingdom, and they presented a recording of a trench moments before the 11th hour on November 11th, 1918. You can hear the shooting from the guns and other artillery continue right up until the 11th hour.
“Then, everything goes silent. Eerily silent. You can hear birds chirping. It’s like things go back to normal. However, things weren’t ‘normal’. Not in the least.”
He went on to tell of the tremendous cost of WWI where Canada lost up to 65,000 in military deaths, and 1,963 civilian deaths, due to the Halifax Explosion of 6 December 1917.
He said everyone will have their own connection to war.
“I think of my own great-great uncle, Alexander Freeland. Born Mar. 4, 1894 he signed up on July 31, 1915 and was placed in the 87th Battalion Canadian Infantry. He would die on the 9th of April 1917 as part of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.”
After the laying of many wreaths, the Padre introduced guest speaker Bombardier Michael Webster, and welcomed C Battery of the First Royal Canadian Horse Artillery from CFB Shilo.
He said, “We are here to pay tribute to the men and women who served and sacrificed so we can enjoy freedom, security and prosperity…we must understand the responsibility we have as custodians of theses great gifts.”
He noted the importance contribution of Allied troops in battle prior to Armistice on Nov. 11, 1918. “A coalition of Canadian, British, French and Australian troops spearheaded the attacks that opened 100 days in Aubigny France.”