By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
The cenotaph at Memorial Park was filled with hundreds of people on Nov. 11 as residents from across Durham Region gathered to pay their respects to Canadian veterans past and present.
The ceremony, which included soldiers from the Ontario Regiment and an array of tanks and army vehicles from the its museum, was also attended by several dignitaries.
MP Colin Carrie, MPP Jennifer French and Mayor John Henry all gave their remarks during the event emceed by Councillor Bob Chapman, himself a former colonel in the Ontario Regiment.
“It really makes my heart feel good to have so many people have come out today to pay tribute to both our fallen and those that have served and are still serving in our Canadian Forces,” Chapman said.
During a career in the Canadian Armed Forces that spanned 37 years, Chapman served as the commanding officer of the Ontario Regiment from 1994 to 1997.
It is also a special year for Oshawa’s Ontario Regiment, which celebrated its 150th anniversary in September.
“This year we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Ontario Regiment and all that they do,” said Henry. “And every day, remember how lucky we are to live in the greatest country in the world.”
The Ontarios were not the only ones to celebrate a milestone in 2016, as the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 43 ushered in its 90th anniversary.
“We have many occassions to reach milestones and recognize service,” French said.
“Across the country, we recognize Remembrance Day, but in Oshawa, it is not only this time in November, but all year that we come together.”
French also took the time to address those who made the ultimate sacrifice in protection of our freedoms today.
“When you turn on the TV or read the paper, we’ve all been bombarded with division and discord. We see an image, a changing world and we have fears, but we also have hopes,” she said.
“We all have a sense of home and values and family, of rights and of freedoms, and as always because so many have served and given all that they had or ever could have had.”