Remembrance Day Event 2017
Hundreds of people gathered at Battalion Park on Saturday morning to observe one of various Remembrance Day ceremonies around the City.
Battalion Park, which was originally named Camp Sarcee in 1915, commemorates the soldiers who trained there before going off to fight in World War I.
Members of the Calgary, Lethbridge, Central Alberta and Edmonton battalions hauled over 16,000 stones onto the hill to form the numbers 137, 113 ,151 and 51, representing the regimental numbers of their battalions.
The park was opened in 1991, after members of the 137 Battalion lobbied to have the stones declared a historic site.
The ceremony began at 10:45 am with the singing of O’Canada followed by a local historian speaking about the history of Battalion park.
“The battalion was the fundamental fighting unit of the Canadian Army,” said the historian.
He also said that member of the Canadian Highlanders trained in kilts in winter. “Yes, they were tough,” he said.
45,000 Canadians trained in the area around Battalion park before being sent overseas to fight in the first World War.
Many of them would not return.
Of about 60,000 Canadians killed in World War I, 6100 of them were Albertans.
The ceremony continued with a time of prayer led by a soldier. For people who did not wish to participate in the prayer they were encouraged to observe silence and reflection during it.
The prayer was followed by readings of In Flanders Fields and the Act of Remembrance.
At 11 am two minutes of silence was observed by everyone in attendance.
After the silence Ron Liepert, Member of Parliament for Calgary’s Signal Hill, said a few words followed by Mike Ellis, Member of Legislative Assembly for Calgary-West.
Ellis said, “Freedom is not free. Every year for one or two minutes we observe in silence as a thank you.”
The laying of the wreaths came next with many wreaths being laid on behalf of the city of Calgary, the first nations veterans, the Calgary veterans, the Calgary police service and the Calgary fire department.
The ceremony concluded at around 11:26 am with the Royal Anthem, God Save the Queen.
Dan Randell, a history student at Ambrose University, said “Remembrance Day absolutely matters and for a couple of reasons. It was engrained in me when I was younger and being in army cadets for four years really showed me the importance of it.”
Randell, who was been studying history for four years said “Being intrigued by history has taught me that it’s important that we never forget it.”
Randell also said that “The biggest challenge facing Remembrance Day is staying relevant and trying to relate to people now.”
Jared Zimmer, who also studies history at Ambrose University said “Remembrance Day does matter for sure. Since I’m studying history I love learning about the war. The sacrifice our soldiers did is an incredible story.”
Zimmer said “When I was younger my school would have ceremonies that I would participate in with the band and my family and I would also go to ceremonies.”
In regards to the question of Remembrance Day’s relevance to the younger generation Zimmer said “For us growing up we remembered various wars, the Korean war, the Gulf war, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, not just World War I and II.”
He also said that he thinks unfortunately a lot of millennials just don’t care anymore and don’t take Remembrance Day as serious as they should.
“It was good to see so many kids at the ceremony today at Battalion park,” said Randell.
“It’s important for kids and younger people to learn the significance of Remembrance Day from a young age. Traditions are important and it’s important to remember.”