A new tradition began in Penhold yesterday as the town held its first Remembrance Day service at the town’s new cenotaph, unveiled just a year ago.
Donated by lifetime resident Stewart Ford, the cenotaph is a monument honouring First World War fallen soldiers.
The best part said Ford, is that the memorial is inside the Penhold Regional Multiplex and not outside like most other ceremonies across the country.
“There’s no fun being outside in November on a chilly day like I used to be as a cadet for the Remembrance Day service,” laughed Ford. “So I suggested we could put it in the multiplex.”
From 1939-95, Penhold was home to the Canadian Forces Base. Penhold Mayor Dennis Cooper said adding the cenotaph to the multiplex has made this year’s ceremony that much more memorable.
“Penhold has such strong military ties so it’s a special time for us to stop and think about the people who have served and the people who didn’t return,” said Cooper.
“The cenotaph is dedicated to all the different service levels, the army, the navy and the air force.”
Shorty after Cooper became mayor in 2010, he formed a committee to find out what the town could do to better commemorate soldiers who fought in the war. Cooper said he was grateful when Ford step forward to help.
“I spent my life here,” said Ford. “I came here at six months of age and it’s where I went to school, had my business and raised a family. I’m in a very fortunate position where I can do things for my community.”
Also on display at the ceremony was a duplicate of the town’s 1918 First World War memorial stage curtain that the town donated to the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa in 2006, where it was refurbished and deemed a national treasure.
Cooper said many of the town’s residents go to Innisfail for the Remembrance Day service on Nov.11 because it’s the closest Legion to Penhold and the reason the town’s ceremony is held the day before.