“We must never forget them”

A sentry stands at the Sailors Memorial during the small, socially-distanced ceremony held at 11 a.m. at the Sailors Memorial on Remembrance Day. SI WILLIAM LEWIS, HMCS SCOTIAN

“We must never forget them”

By Cdr (ret’d) Len Canfield,
Nova Scotia Naval Association of Canada

Remembrance Day ceremonies this year may have been limited due to COVID-19 but this did not detract from the recognition and honor accorded all those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice.

Public health protocols included limiting the number of participants and social distancing at ceremonies at the Halifax Memorial (commonly referred to as Sailors Memorial) in Point Pleasant Park and other venues.

On November 11 prior to HMCS Scotian conducting a limited service at the 11th hour at the Halifax Sailors Memorial, the Nova Scotia Naval Association of Canada (NSNAC), the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust (CNMT) that maintains and operates HMCS Sackville, Canada’s Naval Memorial, and Commissionaires Nova Scotia (CNS), held a limited service at 9 a.m.

Commodore Bruce Belliveau (ret’d), chair of NSNAC in his remarks drew attention to the striking memorial that is highly visible to ships entering and leaving the historic harbour. The memorial’s 12-metre tall Cross of Sacrifice stands on an octagonal platform that bears 23 bronze plaques inscribed with the names of more than 3,000 veterans who lost their lives during the First and Second World Wars.

“We must never forget them…they made the ultimate sacrifice so that others may live free. We need to keep faith with the fallen forever and to explain to children the need to keep this faith,” he said.

Capt (N) Bill Woodburn (ret’d), chair of CNMT offered the Naval Payer.

Chaplain Charlie Black reflected on the wartime sacrifices of Canadians. He read surgeon John McCrae’s immortal  poem In Flanders Fields written in 1915 during the battle of Ypres and noted that more than 60,000 Canadians lost their lives during the First World War. During the Second World War one million men and women served in the Canadian  military and more than 45,000 gave their lives in the fight for freedom. In closing he offered a prayer for those who continue to serve Canada.

Several wreaths were placed at the memorial including NSNAC, CNMT/HMCS Sackville, represented by CPO1 Pat Devenish (ret’d) and Cdr Garry Reddy (ret’d), and CNS, represented by Cdr Rob Rounds.