MIDDLETON, N.S. - It was standing room only at the NSCC gymnasium in Middleton as hundreds gathered Nov. 11 to remember and pay tribute to the many military members who served Canada in wars and conflicts – the peacemakers and the peacekeepers.
“Today marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, and for me a day of deep reflection,” said Lt.-Col. Amy Tsai-Lamoureaux in front of the large crowd that included war veterans, Legion members, serving military personnel, members of the RCMP, and numerous dignitaries including Middleton Mayor Sylvester Atkinson who laid a wreath on behalf of the town.
Tsai-Lamoureaux said Canadians can be found around the world making peace or keeping peace.
“Why should we concern ourselves with conflicts and crises with seemingly no connection to us? I think this can be best answered in a poem by Martin Niemoller,” she said.
In the poem Niemoller, a Lutheran pastor in Germany who became an outspoken public critic of Adolf Hitler, said:
“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist.”
“Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist.”
“Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out – because I was not a Jew.”
“Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Students from Middleton Regional High School read the honour roll from the two great wars, and Korea. The MRHS band also performed for the service and band member Daniel Boates played the Last Post and Reveille.
Legion president Don Sherman read a verse from Robert Laurence Binyon’s poem For the Fallen:
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;”
“Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.”
“At the going down of the sun and in the morning”
“We will remember them.”
Also during the service, those in the military were asked to stand and were thanked for their service.
Residents of the Veterans Unit at Soldiers Memorial Hospital were in the front row, some in wheelchairs and some with canes. Volunteers Karl Hayes and Phill Berube wheeled veteran Veronica Swallow to the honour guard and memorial cross and helped her place a wreath on behalf of the hospital.
Other wreaths were laid on behalf of the province, federal government, and by numerous organizations an individuals.