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Traditional Remembrance Day ceremony returns after two years of no-spectator services

Thompsonites gathered in the C.A. Nesbitt for the first since 2019 to honour the sacrifices made by Canadian veterans.
Thompson RCMP members and Thompson 737 Squadron Royal Canadian Air Cadets stand at attention as wreaths are laid at the conclusion of Remembrance Day ceremonies in Thompson Nov. 11.

Thompson’s annual Remembrance Day ceremony took part in front of a crowd at the C.A. Nesbitt Arena for the first time since 2019 on Nov. 11.

Delivering a message on behalf of the Canadian government, Churchlll-Keewatinook Aski MP Niki Ashton said the war in Ukraine serving as a backdrop to this year’s services made them especially poignant.

“Our thoughts are with people who are affected,” she said. “And I know we all hope for an end to conflict, for respect for self-determination, and peace.”

Thompson MLA Eric Redhead said Remembrance Day is intended to honour the sacrifices made by Canadian soldiers and that people now have a better understanding of sacrifice than they did a few years ago, after the immense disruptions and many deaths brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They gave their lives,” he said of soldiers in wars Canada has fought in.

With Remembrance Day services at the arena being the third such ceremony she attended this week, following Indigenous Veterans Day commemorations at Wapanohk Community School on Nov. 8 and another school service yesterday, Mayor Colleen Smook says she is glad that the memory of what soldiers did for Canada is being kept alive, even as the number of veterans from the Second World War gets smaller and smaller every year.

"It is so nice to see the young people being kept up to date on what’s happened in the past wars so that it doesn’t have to happen again,” she said.

Ceremony emcee and Royal Canadian Legion Burntwood branch president Oswald Sawh paid tribute to Indigenous veterans prior to a pipe ceremony by elder Jack Robinson

“The rate of Indigenous participation in Canada’s military efforts has been impressive,” he said, noting that many were already excellent marksmen as a result of hunting and that many served in specialized roles such as snipers or reconnaissance scouts, with more than 50 soldiers earning decorations for their actions.

“We are thankful for those that gave up their lives,” said Robinson. “We pray that there will be peace.”

The ceremony concluded with the playing of the Last Post and two minutes of silence, followed by the laying of wreaths.

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