Lest We Forget … Port Elgin Remembrance Day Ceremony

It always seems that Mother Nature cooperates to remind those who attend Remembrance Day ceremonies what it must have been like 75 years ago as troops fought through summer and winter in the trenches and beyond to free the people from tyranny.

This year, 2020, was no exception as the temperature plummeted with a cold, blustery wind, from what had been a Fall ‘heat wave’.

                                                       Port Elgin Legion Colour Party

The ceremonies this year were very different under pandemic conditions where there were no parades and the public was asked not to attend.  Veterans didn’t march and people didn’t line the streets to honour them.

                                  Port Elgin Legion Branch 340 Colour Party

For larger view, Click on Images

It was however, a solemn time as Royal Canadian Legion branches gathered to march in the colours, listened to the Last Post and laid wreaths in honour of fallen comrades.

                      Norma Dudgeon led the ceremony

Port Elgin Legion Branch Secretary-Treasurer, Norma Dudgeon, who opened the ceremony said, “We will continue to remember those who served and continue to service.  COVID has taken away our freedom to gather at cenotaphs today but it Norma Dughas not taken our desire to pay homage to those who served in World War I and World War II. Today, we also honour our men and women who have served in Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Rowanda and many other conflicts to keep peace abroad.  Our soldier protect our frontiers, work with our allies, provide humanitarian assistance and help restore peace in troubled areas. When they come home, suffering from the consequences of war, we need to be there for them and we need to offer them our compassion and support.  As proud Canadians, we need to ensure that the memory of their efforts and sacrifices will live on. Their courage, service and sacrifice will never be forgotten.

To all veterans, young and old alike, we humbly say …
Thank you.”

        (L)Rev. Charles (Chuck) Beaton, Padre of Port Elgin                                         Legion Branch 340

Reverend Chuck Beaton (Branch 340 Padre) said,  “Every Remembrance Day is special but this one is extra special because it is 75 years ago that at the end of the 2nd World War, Germany surrendered in May of 1945 and Japan four months later in August.  The greatest conflict that the world has ever seen ended, to the huge relief of all the nations on our planet.  This morning, we offer our Remembrance Day prayers with all of these things in mind.  On this Remembrance Day, we remember with grieving hearts all our fellow Canadians who lost their lives in the service of their country.  We honour them and the families who loved them.  Seventy-five years ago, war ended after six years of bitter fighting but scars of that fighting have lasted all these years and some of the wounds have never healed.  We feel deeply for the families whose young people did not come home.  Help us to never take their lives for granted by remembering what we have here in Canada – peace and prosperity and security.”

While there weren’t the crowds of ‘yesteryears’, a few staunch residents still attended, masked and at a distance, for the moving ceremony.

                                        Small crowds gathered





Wreath laying was also very different this year, although there were many. Most wreaths were previously laid by Port Elgin Legion with only a few allowed to lay them in person, including the Silver Cross mother, Legion Branch President, Saugeen Shore Police Chief, Saugeen Shores Fire Service, Bruce County representative and Saugeen Shores Council.

     Those who laid wreaths (L) Chief Kevin Zettel, Deputy Mayor Don Matheson,           Port Elgin Legion Pres. Robert Harrison & Lt. Navy (ret’d) Peter Boucher

At the end of the ceremony, the children of the Hatt family demonstrated what they are learning about history and the veterans who saved freedom and what it means to honour them.

                             (L) Molly, Stella and Miles Hatt learned about those who served

At Port Elgin Cenotaph, technology played a large part in the unusual 2020 ceremony as it was ‘live-streamed’ working with Southampton Pentecostal Church and, for those who were unable to attend, view now.