By Catherine Villeneuve, The Guard –
One hundred. One hundred years of global events that shaped the world we live in today, after what was supposed to be the war to end all wars. One hundred days of gruesome and costly battles our brave Canadian soldiers fought to put an end to the First World War, during what became known as “Canada’s Hundred Days” campaign. To commemorate the Armistice, thousands gathered under a cold, bright sun this past Sunday at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, exactly one hundred years after its signature by world leaders.
Along with Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, the Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Harjit Sajjan; Mrs. Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; Lieutenant-Colonel (retired) Karen McCrimmon, Member of Parliament for Kanata-Carleton, and General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, accompanied by Chief Warrant Officer Alain Guimond, laid wreaths on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on behalf of Canadians. Proudly standing beside them was this year’s National Silver Cross Mother, Ms. Anita Cenerini. Mrs. Cenerini’s son, Private Thomas Welch, was a member of 6 Platoon, November Company, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, which is based in Petawawa, ON. He deployed to Afghanistan on Roto 0, Operation ATHENA, as a C9 Gunner, and died by suicide less than three months upon his return from tour. His death on 8 May, 2004 is marked as the first death by suicide of a Canadian soldier after returning home from the Afghanistan mission.
Remembering those who served our nation and paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect and defend our lives and values was the key message of all who spoke at the ceremony. From renowned Canadian Armed Forces veterans to the Chaplain General, Brigadier-General Guy Chapdelaine, and Ottawa’s own Rabbi Bulka. “Peace is not the absence of war” and “We must fight for peace” were some if the inspiring words of courage and gratitude that ended the moving and solemn ceremony.
Lest We Forget
Photos: CFSU(O) IMAGING SERVICES/Master Corporal Daniel Merrell & Private Tori Lake
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