More than 800 people rose to their feet in the multiplex Nov. 11 as Bugler David Spencer sounded the Last Post at the town’s Remembrance Day service. That was down from about 1,050 who attended the previous year.
They stood in silence for two minutes, then the haunting sounds of Lament reverberated through the building before Spencer played Rouse.
“They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, We will remember them,” proclaimed Sylvan Lake Legion President Steve Dills who read the Act of Remembrance.
The service began with O Canada led by a recording of the H. J. Cody High School Choir.
Then Rev. John Yoos read In Flanders Fields as he has done for many, many years at the Sylvan Lake service. Legion Comrade Reta Coubrough responded with the reply, something she’s also done for many years.
Members of the Memorial Presbyterian Church and community choir led several songs during the service, accompanied by pianist Cheri Kay.
Young people were involved in reading the scriptures. Pathfinder Darion Hamilton read Isaiah 2: 1-5 while Scout Jocelyn Mosset read James 3:13-18.
During his address, Legion chaplain Jin Woo Kim spoke of war, broken treaties, imagination and peace.
“In the last 4,000, it is reckoned that there has only been 268 years without a war. In the same length of time, 8,000 peace treaties have been made and broken. So why do we continue to fight one another? Does peace not make infinitely more sense?”
Beatle John Lennon wistfully sang, “Imagine all the people living in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”
He wasn’t the only dreamer, said Kim. “Prophet Isaiah was a dreamer.
He envisioned a day when nations will stream to God’s sacred place and learn God’s ways and “they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”
Isaiah was able to imagine a world at peace, a time when tools of war will be turned to the service of all humanity.
Kim spoke about “dreamers, the poets and prophets who not only give us visions of a better world, but the inspiration and motivation to turn dreams into reality.”
He concluded, “If, one glorious day, wars cease and people learn to live in peace and harmony, if respect and dignity become the universal way of life; then our work as soldiers and as a regiment will be done. But until that time, with God’s help, we will remember those who fell, we will continue in their footsteps and we will serve valiantly as they served valiantly. For there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends and in the cause of lasting peace. Lest we forget.”
The wreath for Silver Cross Mothers was placed by Doreen Jewell-Duffy, mother of RCMP Cst. Anthony Gordon who was killed in the line of duty in Mayerthorpe. A number of other wreaths were then placed in front of the cenotaph on behalf of Queen Elizabeth and various levels of government, in memory of veterans by their families and friends, and on behalf of various organizations and businesses.
Throughout the service, the cenotaph honour guard, comprised of members of 41 Signal Regiment – Detachment Red Deer, stood with heads bowed.
Following the service many people returned to the Legion for a light lunch and refreshments.
A brief service was conducted at the cenotaph when Red Deer MP Earl Dreeshen, Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Kerry Towle and Sylvan Lake Mayor Susan Samson laid wreaths.
During the afternoon, Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary president Kathie Duncan presented a $5,000 cheque to the Legion branch. The ladies raise their money by catering to Christmas parties, weddings, birthday and other events as well as funeral teas. They also host breakfasts the first Sunday of every month.
This was the second year the service has been held at the multiplex and it provided ample space.