Pelham, Welland honour the sacrifices of citizens past, present and future

The Town of Pelham held it’s Remembrance Day Services Sunday at the Fonthill Peace Park.

As the final notes of the Last Post hung in the chilly air at the Pelham Peace Park, a small group of residents bowed their head in silence to remember the sacrifices made of their residents in past conflicts and honoured those that are currently serving.

The same happened in Chippawa Park in Welland just an hour later.

Both Fonthill Royal Canadian Legion Br. 613 and Welland’s Br 4 held their Remembrance Day ceremonies Sunday, Nov. 3/2019. Both branches hold the services early as their members have commitments around the region on Nov. 11.

“We remember today the men and women who have made the greatest sacrifice in the service of our country and for the promise of a better and more prosperous tomorrow,” Pelham Mayor Marvin Junkin said.

“Our freedom is not free, it comes with a great cost and we are fortunate that so many have stood up and raised their hand and said ‘yes’ when called upon,” he said.

“As a tribute to those who have served and serve today, we gather to celebrate and to mourn, but, always to remember,” he said.

“Our streets are lined with the faces of those connected to our town who committed themselves to a cause greater than themselves,” he said. “Today, of all days, they hold a special place in our hearts.”

“I look around at those that are here in uniform today and I, along with so many others, would like to say ‘thank you,’” he said. “Your actions will echo through history louder than my words ever could.”

“As the sun sets and rises, you will all remain in our hearts and minds, today, tomorrow and always,” he said.

Remembrance Day ceremony at Chippawa Park in Welland.

In Chippawa Park in Welland, the thoughts and wishes of Remembrance were echoed.

Niagara Centre M.P. Jeff Burch discussed the lives of so many Wellanders who have answered the call to service in the past.

“What makes these ordinary people special is that they were prepared to lay down their lives for us,” Burch said.

He discussed the upcoming celebrations next year which will mark the end of World War Two.

“There is no ranking of sacrifice amongst our war dead,” Burch said. “You cannot say that one battle or loss of life was more important than another.”

“All sacrifices together represent the selfless commitment to our great nation and its freedom we are privileged to have,” he said.

Niagara Regional Councillor Leanna Villella represented Regional Chair Jim Bradley at the ceremony. She talked about the need for ongoing support for our veterans in Canada.

“We gather to remember these men and women who have returned from battle,” she said. “These men and women often return home with the scars of conflict, some clearly visible, and others we cannot see.”

“It goes without saying that we owe these men and women a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid,” she said.

“The freedom and lifestyle that we enjoy today came at a very great cost, the very least we can do is recall these fellow Canadians with solemn remembrance and respect.”

“As we meet a veteran with a poppy box in hand we should be encouraged to generously donate and wear that poppy proudly over our hearts in recognition of the sacrifice of those who have served and offer our heartfelt thanks in gratitude to that individual and their family,’ she said.

“This willingness of our veterans to stand up and protect human rights, freedom, and justice remains one of Canada’s defining characteristics in the eyes of the world,” she said.

Adam Moote, Vice Mayor, spoke for the City of Welland.

“While we remember the past, I am hopeful for our future,” Moote said.

“Just one week ago our Lincoln and Welland Regiment once again marched through the streets of Bergen Op Zoom 75 years after liberating it alongside the South Alberta Regiment,” he said.

“It is through these commemorative events that I am hopeful that we will always remember those sacrifices and those who have previously served and continue to serve in defence of our great nation, and the pursuit of liberty and freedom throughout the world,” he said.