At 11 a.m. on Nov.11, a respectful crowd of young and old — most wearing poppies — filled Rimbey Community Centre, taking time out of their lives to stop, to remember and to give tribute to those who gave their lives for their country.
Remembering these men and women is as important today as it ever was, Rev. Debra Laing told the Remembrance Day service.
“A baby born the day that war (the First World War) ended would be 94 years old today,” said Rev Laing. “So the soldiers are gone, and the medics are gone. The daredevil flying aces are gone and the cavalry is gone. The drummers and the pipers, the nurses and the doctors. The farmers and city dwellers ….all of them history.”
Laing said stories of what happened during wars; the battles and heroism, suffering and waste of human potential, need to be told.
“We speak of towns and tiny places scattered over lands we have never visited; whose names we learned ….. The Somme, Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, the Scarpe. We remember by listening to others and reading for ourselves and learning our history and looking at pictures.”
Rev. Laing compared telling stories of the wars as a way to keep alive history, to telling the age-old story of how God brought his people, who were slaves, to the Promised Land.
She also talked about the importance of the poppy as a symbol of a promise to remember, to keep the faith, to honor lives that were lost and devastated in war.
“So we say, we will remember them. And we wear the poppy. We need to continue to tell the stories to our children. Talk about it often…not just once a year. If we want to live in a land of hope and promise ourselves, we will remember where we have come from, and who has gone before.”
Barbara Patey, Rimbey Royal Canadian Legion president, also spoke of the importance of remembering.
“We must remember. If we don’t, the sacrifice of those 100,000 Canadian lives will be meaningless. They died for us, for their homes and families and friends. The meaning of their sacrifice rests with us. Our future is their monument.”
Patey said Remembrance Day gives everyone the opportunity to acknowledge the courage and the sacrifice of those who served their country and acknowledge our responsibility to work for the peace they fought hard to achieve.