Atlantic Canadians mark Remembrance Day with services around the region

Staff ~ The Truro Daily News
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HALIFAX - Hundreds of people packed the Grand Parade in front of Halifax City Hall on Wednesday to remember the sacrifices of the country's fallen soldiers.
Most had poppies pinned to the coats they wore drawn tight against the chilly morning breeze. Others doffed their caps as a military brass band belted out a few bars of "God Save the Queen" and "O Canada."
Paul Villeneuve of Halifax said he goes downtown every year to attend the outdoor Remembrance Day service.
"It's the least we can do to pay our respects to those who fought and certainly those who have given the ultimate sacrifice," said Villeneuve, 39, who was with his wife Alannah Phillips and his two-year-old son, Patrick.
"For us it's important that we be here."
The war in Afghanistan has helped highlight the significance of the day, he said.
"It's emotional," he said. "You see all the military personnel take off their hats and salute and I can only think about what it must be like at the ramp ceremonies when they're sending the deceased back home."
Sgt. Dave Dore, 37, knows all too well what that's like, having lost dozens of his comrades while serving in forward operating bases in Afghanistan for eight months.
"I was outside of the wire my whole tour," he said. "It's fairly risky. It's a little more risky than sitting in Khandahar. You're on the roads all the time with the IEDs."
Flags downtown flew at half mast and a military Sea King helicopter flew overhead at 11 a.m.
In Fredericton, thousands lined the streets around the provincial cenotaph that was damaged by vandals just days earlier.
Wreaths and poppies adorned the spot where a large granite cross had stood for decades.
The remains of the cross were hauled away Tuesday after it had been toppled and broken over the weekend.
"I'm so outraged," said veteran Bob Lockhart. "I think it's the most contemptible thing that I can possibly imagine."
He wasn't alone with that opinion.
"It makes us all sick to see that," said Rod While of Fredericton. "Especially at this particular time, and with our young men and women in Afghanistan doing the things that need to be done to ensure freedom for the rest of us."
In Bridgewater, N.S., 90-year-old Ralph Hebb wore the same uniform at the cenotaph that he was wearing when he returned home from Europe on Jan. 1, 1946.
Hebb was a Canadian engineer who helped rescue British paratroopers at Arnhem during Operation Market Garden.
"It rained as hard as it could rain and everybody was in the mud," he said in an interview with CTV. "We bought 2,400 back."
In Charlottetown, veterans were greeted with applause as they marched through the streets to the cenotaph.
"We can never hope to fully appreciate what they did for us,' said Dan MacInnis of Charlottetown. "I only hope that if ever called upon to serve my country, I would carry the standard of my country as high as they did."
George LeBlanc, who attended the Charlottetown service from Moncton, N.B., said he will never be able to say thank you enough to those who served.
"My father's generation were just kids when they marched off to war, the same age as my kids today," he said. "I can't think of what it must be like to send your children to war.
"I am so grateful for what those courageous men and women did for us."
It was a clear, crisp day in St. John's, N.L., as the families of Sgt. Vaughn Ingram and Sgt. Donald Lucas, both killed in Afghanistan, laid wreaths at the National War Memorial.

Geographic location: Afghanistan, Fredericton, Charlottetown Bridgewater Europe Arnhem Moncton St. John's

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