Our soldiers paid the ultimate price to give us peace and freedom.
On Monday, Red Deer remembered exactly that with a moment of silence, a procession by the veterans and the laying of wreaths.
— Mamta Lulla (@LMamta) November 11, 2019
Following the Remembrance Day ceremony at Servus Arena, Red Deer Legion first vice-president Dennis Morgan said Nov. 11 is an important reminder for all Canadians. The arena was so packed that some people had to stand in the back because all of the seats were taken.
Morgan estimated about 2,000 people attended the ceremony, with many young faces among the crowd.
“It’s important for the young people, especially, to know what this is all about,” said Morgan.
A speaker at the ceremony, Robert Porkka, former director of international education for Red Deer Public School division, said young people need a “hook” to connect them to Remembrance Day better. It’s the stories of veterans that gets their attention, not so much the idea of war itself, he said.
“You can personalize the stories, that draws the kids a little bit more, to understand what went on, and perhaps dig into their own family archives,” he explained after the ceremony.
Porkka was a teacher overseas and taught Canadian youth in Germany from 1989 to 1992 and in the Netherlands from 1998 to 2001.
During his speech Monday, he spoke about his experiences overseas. The former teacher has seen first hand the respect Dutch people have for Canadians’ contribution during the war.
Every Dutch school student, for instance, is asked to adopt the grave of a Canadian soldier killed during the liberation of the Netherlands in the Second World War.
“They’re in charge of it, they look after it. So they research the person they’re looking after,” said Porkka, adding that it serves as an ongoing link between the two countries.
The Red Deer Legion also hosted a smaller ceremony Monday morning downtown by the cenotaph.
The Legion conducted 14 services at seniors homes in Red Deer leading up to Remembrance Day, as well as a service at Red Deer College for those at the school.