Québec Remembers The Soldiers

Québec Remembers The Soldiers

Remembering to Remember

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As in most cities in Canada and Great Britain, November the 11th has become a date to honour those who fought and or died for their country’s well being, ensuring a better life for those who follow.

Some call it Armistice Day others call it Veterans’ Day, but in Canada it is simply called Remembrance Day and the reason it is celebrated on November 11th is because that date, in 1918, was the day the First World War was declared over, even though the papers of concession were only signed in July 1919.

Although mostly a Commonwealth tradition, the occasion is recognised prevalently throughout the world, and Canada chose the 11th day of the 11 month at 11am to emphasize the importance of it all, making the date a federally recognized holiday even though not all provinces have declared it an official day off.

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Quebec City is no exception to the rule and having a Military Base in the region makes it even more significant to the citizens and military personnel who reside in the area. The ceremony here has all the traditional attributes and military finesse of any in Canada, following the same procedures as Ottawa, including flags from every province and territory as well as representatives from all levels of Government and religious denominations. We are blessed with a cenotaph across from the Provincial parliament buildings at the entrance to the Battlefields Park, which makes the location a very central and popular scene for all the Dignitaries and populace who partake in the annual celebration.

The Royal 22nd Regiment was present for the parade and the musical rendition of “O Canada” followed by several different familiar hymns played throughout the morning.

The weather was damp, cold and sombre, just as it should be for such an occasion. Everyone was in place for the 11am two minutes of silence, which was broken by the recognizable ‘taps’ played by a lone soldier on his highly polished trumpet. Once the honours were terminated the placing of wreaths began with the first being presented by the Federal Government’s senator Suzanne Fortin-Duplessis on behalf of Canada.  She was followed, in descending order, by the provincial representative, Ms. Agnes Maltais, Quebec’s Heritage minister, and then Quebec City’s popular mayor M. Régis Labeaume.

The remaining wreaths were placed by various political and religious leaders including Dennis Dawson, representing the Canadian Senate, Michel Royer for the Anglican Diocese of Quebec, and a special wreath for a Mother who had lost her son and Husband to separate battles in separate decades.

Remembrance_Day_2012_FlagsAfter all was over and done, with most people departed, a last wreath was placed silently by a group of independent Quebec Nationalists who preferred to place their own souvenir as a special tribute to the soldiers of Quebec; a defiant but subdued annual ritual which no one really pays much attention to.

This year the ceremony was complimented by the Québec Government officially recognizing the naming of the northern section of Highway 73, as the “Route de la Bravoure” (Road of the Brave) which the opposition parties, (in particular Gerard Deltell) had been asking for since 2008.

Highway 73 is the road that leads to the Valcartier Military Base.

Lest we forget.

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.

Categories: News, Opinion

About Author

Job Patstone

Job Patstone was born in Hamilton, ON. and has lived in Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer AB. He is presently living in Quebec City, with his wife. He worked for Xerox for 26 years and was an ESL teacher for another ten.

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