Tim Tobias, a member of the Delaware First Nation in Southern Ontario, attended the Red Deer Veterans Park ceremonies with a home-made sign, thanking his father, his grandfather and his great-grandfather for their service in Canada’s military. He watched the services in Ottawa on TV, and then made his way downtown for the outdoor services at the cenotaph
“Watching the service this morning from Ontario made me cry. As you can see, my dad, my grandfather, my great-grandfather, they all served. They all came home, but it was my honour and duty to come to remember them, because I think we cannot forget the sacrifices that servicemen have done for us. We have peace. We have relative peace and calm and we have our freedom, and we can’t let go of that. Many of the aboriginal community across Canada have served for North America, and many have died. It’s things like that have to be recognized, not forgotten. I love this country. I really do. When we see attacks on our country, whether that be a terrorist initiative, we don’t know absolutely, but we cannot allow this, and we cannot allow ourselves to be imprisoned within our own country also. We fought for these freedoms and we intend to hang onto them.”
Larry and Yvonne Beeds
Larry and Yvonne Beeds of Sylvan Lake spent some time at the Flags of Remembrance display on Hwy 12 near Sylvan Lake to pay their respects and speak a few words of gratitude for the 116,000 fallen soldiers represented there.
“We have just heard that there was 116 flags put up in remembrance of our soldiers who fought,” said Yvonne. The recent deaths of soldiers on duty brought those sacrifices to light, she said.
“The first time I saw the flags, I was really overwhelmed. I thought, wow, who’s ever done that, what a commemorative thing to do. We watched the recent films. In a way, everything has changed, but it hasn’t changed. The memories are still there. As Canadians, we wanted to commemorate and remember our friends and neighbours who fought, all the wonderful things they did. It’s a day of rejoicing that we have freedom and it’s also a day that we look back and give thanks to our soldiers. We can’t do enough to thank our soldiers for what they’ve done.”
Cora and Curtis Fedyk
Métis elder Cora Fedyk, whose family has a long history of military service, was chosen as the Silver Cross Mothers’ representative for services held at the Red Deer Arena by Branch 35 of the Royal Canadian Legion. Fedyk attended with her son, Curtis Fedyk, whose own son is currently on active duty in Edmonton.
Her father, Rueben Blondeau, served in the First World War and three of her brothers, Walter, Louis and Edward, served in the Second World War. Edward died in the Korean War and was buried in Guam. Fedyk’s oldest son, Douglas Boyer, served in the Air Force and her grandson, Jeremy Kupsch — Curtis’s son, is a reservist with the 3rd Division in Edmonton. Kupsch served in Afghanistan in 2009 and again in 2011.
Fedyk has a long history of work with the Métis Association and the Métis Veterans Association.
She said she was surprised when the Legion asked her to take part this year.
“I shivered for about two hours when I found out.”
She said she still always feels the presence of her father and her brothers and relies on her father’s words for guidance. She said the feeling was especially strong as people gathered for the Remembrance Day service on Tuesday.
Cpl. (retired) Horace Warden was two days short of his 18th birthday in 1951, when he signed up with the Canadian Army. He spent the next two years and Germany and was shipped to Korea after 60 days leave, returning later for another tour in Germany. He was on a training exercise in Wainwright when he was awakened at 3 a.m. and told he would be heading to conflict in the Belgian Congo. He was stabbed in Germany, but says Congo was the worst experience of all. He and his unit had flown in and were captured by rebel forces when they landed. They were rescued by soldier from Nigerian, who took advantage of the poor discipline among their Congolese captors.
After retiring from the armed forces, Warden spent 18 years as a service officer for the Royal Canadian Legion, finding assistance for about 1,100 veterans and their families. With help and guidance from his wife, Donnie, Warden was able to make significant inroads for many of them, including getting a payment of $250,000 for a woman whose husband had fallen ill and died after being subjected to chemical testing at Canadian Forces Base Suffield.
Now president of the Korean Veterans Association, Warden laid a wreath on their behalf during Remembrance Day services at Veterans Park in Red Deer on Tuesday.