Vermilion Elementary School, St. Jerome’s School, and J.R. Robson School each hosted a Remembrance Day Ceremony in Vermilion on November 7.
Veterans, Members of the Royal Canadian Legion, Vermilion Army Cadet Corps, Canadian Armed Forces, Government of Alberta Sheriffs, and School Trustees were among honoured guests. Students also participating in the ceremonies by laying wreaths and singing songs.
In a letter from Superintendent, Bob Allen, representatives read, “Our national anthem states, ‘We stand on guard for thee.’ There are those that stand up to those who threaten our freedom as Canadians. I am so thankful for those who have and for those who continue to do so.”
Originally from London, Ontario Cpl Sam Donovan, works with the 3rd Canadian Division as an Electronic-Optronic Technician for the Canadian Armed Forces in Wainwright. At Vermilion Elementary School, he said, “Veterans help to stop wars and often work to protect us in times of emergency. The very best thing we can do to say, ‘Thank you’ to our veterans is to remember them.”
Donovan went on to tell as story about a World War II veteran and his comrades who each donated one button from their coats to give a coat to a girl who did not have enough warm clothes or food even though it was winter.
At St. Jerome’s School, Padre Aubrey Bell said, “At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, time stands still for a moment, and we remember.”
Grade 12 students were asked to stand, representing the age of those who left leaving behind their dreams, aspirations, and loved ones.
At J.R. Robson School, a letter from MLA Garth Rowswell was read, and Retired Cpl Darin Lauttamus from Wainwright shared about his 25 and a half years of service as a mechanic with the RECME corps.
“I served between Israel and Syria under the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force at 24 years old, with a wife and one child at home. When I served in Bosnia, I left a wife and three children at home. Our main goal there was to keep things quiet; keeping the warring parties at peace. I lost 22 close friends in Afghanistan. I enjoyed my career, but it took a toll on the body,” said Lauttamus.
He appreciates having got to see a lot of Canada and the world, and said the best part of his career was being part of a team. His father had served 27 years, completing seven tours including Sinai, Cypress, Egypt, and Alert. He also had an uncle who served in the 1st Canadian D-Day Parachute Battalion, and an uncle who served with the Royal Canadian Artillery.
Cpl Donovan spoke again recognizing veteran stories and milestone anniversaries. He noted the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Normandy where 14,000 Canadians landed on Juno Beach while the sky was screaming with shells and warplanes. He reminded the audience that they all kept going even though the water and sand were lined with bodies. He also noted the 70th Anniversary of the founding of NATO, and ending five years ago the biggest deployment of Canadian soldiers since WWII Following the September 11, 2001 attacks.
“They performed their duties with exceptional bravery,” said Donavan who suggested that people consider participating in the Write To The Troops program, visit war memorials to lay wreaths or have a moment of silence, and to simply make the choice to remember.