AMHERST – Before yesterday’s Remembrance Day Ceremony at Victoria Square in Amherst, the master of ceremonies, Robb Morse, asked the youth who were present to make their way to front of the service.
“My address was geared more towards the younger children because it’s important they continue on remembering our fallen hero’s,” said Morse after the ceremony. “It’s their job and their task to continue remembering long after the veterans have passed on, so I hope it encourages them to take an active part in the act of remembrance and understand why the veterans went away and did what they did.”
Hundreds of people came out to yesterday’s ceremony of remembrance, which focused on the anniversary of two decisive battles fought by Canadian soldiers, and focused on the role youth can play in remembering Canadian who gave their life for our freedoms.
Morse has been the Remembrance Day master of ceremonies in Amherst for the last five-year’s.
“I think we have more and more participation every year, which is good.”
He also sees more participation among youth.
“As we continue to educate youth and to have them take part in the Remembrance Day services it helps them understand why wars have happened, and I think we’ve come a long way in that respect in the last few years.”
Warrant Officer Derek Thompson agrees. Thompson, along with 24 other soldiers from CFG Gagetown, took part in the ceremony.
“The ceremony was short and to the point and they got their message across, so I think it was a good learning experience.”
Thompson lives in Oromocto.
“My kid’s are in school and they go through a whole week of festivities, so they learn quite a lot,” he said.
This year marks the anniversary of two decisive battles fought by Canadian troops, The Battle of Vimy Ridge and the Dieppe Raid.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge was fought in France during the First World War, 95 year’s ago, from April 9 to12, 1917.
Canadian and British forces won the battle and, in victory, Canada suffered 10,602 casualties; 3,598 were killed and 7,004 were wounded.
Troops from all across Canada took part in the battle and, therefore, the Battle of Vimy Ridge is often thought of as Canada’s coming-of-age as a nation.
The Dieppe Raid happened 70 year’s ago. It was fought during the Second World War on the Northern coast of France, on Aug. 19, 1942.
The battle raged for almost six hours, and in that time 3,367 of the 5,000 Canadian troops that took part in the raid were killed, wounded or taken prisoner.
Although Canadian forces had to retreat after suffering major losses, British prime minister Winston Churchill said the battle was a prelude and a learning experience to the successful landings at Normandy on June 6, 1944.
At the end of his address, Morse read a poem by Don Crawford called ‘Why Wear a Poppy?’
The 12-stanza poem is about a mother telling small boy about her son that she lost in the war.
The last four stanzas are as follows:
"But the war went on so he had to stay
All I could do was wait and pray.
His letters told of the awful fight
I can still see it in my dreams at night.
With tanks and guns and cruel barbed wire
And mines and bullets, the bombs and fire."
'Til at last the war was won
"And that’s why we wear a poppy, son."
The small boy turned as if to go
Then said, "Thanks lady, I’m glad to know.
That sure did sound like an awful fight
But your son, did he come home all right?"
A tear rolled down each faded cheek
She shook her head but didn’t speak.
I slunk away, head bowed in shame
And if you were with me, you’d have done the same.
For our thanks in giving is oft delayed
Though the freedom was bought and thousands paid.
And so you see, when a poppy is worn
Let us reflect on the burden borne.
By those who gave their very all
When asked to answer their country’s call.
That we are home in peace may live
Then wear a poppy, remember and give.