The 100th anniversary of the end of World War One was acknowledged on November 11 during the Remembrance Day program held at Victoria School.
Remembrance Day observances, orchestrated by the Kamsack branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, began at the Victoria School gymnasium shortly before 11 a.m. with Keri Lindsay, on bagpipes, leading the “march on the Colours,” with members of the RCMP, Legion and air cadets entering the gymnasium, bearing the flags: Canadian, Saskatchewan, Union Jack, Red Ensign, air cadets and the Legion branch flag.
After the singing of O Canada, the Honour Roll was read by Comrade Jim Woodward, Legion president.
The Last Post was played and a two-minute silence was observed, after which Reveille, "to notify personnel that it is time to wake up" was sounded.
Woodward then recited “They shall not grow old,” Laurence Binyon's poem For the Fallen.
An opening prayer was said by Rev. Nancy Brunt, followed by the hymn O God, Our Help in Ages Past.
Members of the Kamsack air cadets accompanied wreath layers who laid wreaths in front of the cenotaph erected on the stage for the service. In total there were 49 wreaths placed in front of the cenotaph, representing: the Government of Canada; the Government of Saskatchewan; the RCMP; the Town of Kamsack; the fallen of Afghanistan; peacetime veterans; Kamsack Hospital and Nursing Home; Eaglestone Lodge; Duck Mountain Ambulance; Kamsack and District Volunteer Fire Department; Good Spirit School Division; Kamsack Comprehensive Institute; Victoria School; youth of Canada; Chief Gabriel Cote Education Complex; Keeseekoose First Nation; Keeseekoose Chief’s Education Centre; Cote First Nation; 3rd and 4th Degree Knights of Columbus; King Solomon Masonic Lodge; Parkland Shrine Club; Royal Canadian Air Cadets; Mrs. Gladys Bishop Smith; Walter Cazakowski; St. Josephat’s Ukrainian Catholic Church; Kamsack Power House Museum; the Woodward families; James, Jack and Lawrence Rudd; Jim Frank, King, Roy and George Falkiner; Duncan McLean; War Amps Canada Operation Legacy; Lam’s Restaurant; Ritchie Industries; Yorkton Co-op Food Store, Kamsack; Andrychuk Funeral Home; Wolkowski Funeral Service; Walter Nicholas Rezansoff; Hiawatha Chapter of the Eastern Star; Grand Chapter of the Eastern Star, Saskatchewan; George Njegovan and Claude Hollett; Robert Lucier; Francis, Tom, Judy and Loretta Hovorka; Walter Crocombe; Wayne Delance; CUPE 5430; Barry Golay; Dr. Victor Bourgeault, and the Kamsack branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.
The Kamsack Community Choir under the direction of Susan Bear, with Deb Cottenie on piano, sang Make Me a Channel of Your Peace.
Teanna Raffard and Tara Taylor of the air cadets performed the scripture readings from Isaiah 11: 1-9 and James 4: 1-3 respectively.
“Whatever else may be evident from the statement of the Saviour, an individual’s willingness to sacrifice himself for another is evidence of love,” began Rev. Nancy Brunt in the homily she delivered after the scripture readings. “However, death is not of itself an indication of love.
“There may be many reasons an individual would die, even willingly. I speak cautiously and with deepest humility in saying that motives are seldom pure. Rather, multiple motives may be thrown together leading an individual to the supreme sacrifice.
“Peer pressure may cause an individual to sacrifice his or her life. I don't necessarily mean this in a negative sense. I refer to the sacrifice of brave individuals who have willingly given their lives for members of their own unit during times of war or trauma.
“My Grandfather’s brother did this in the First World War: when a German grenade landed in the trench he and his men were in, he fell on it to save his men and for this he was awarded the Victoria Cross. We see the names of many from our communities engraved on the memorial at Cenotaph Park.
“Of course, there are the heroes whom we have taken for granted. No one enjoys receiving a speeding ticket from the police who patrol our highways and enforce our laws. We seldom think about the firemen who are constantly on call, waiting for the call which they pray never comes. When that call comes, they rush to attack the flames, and if human life is threatened, they willingly rush into the fire seeking to save the dying.
“Jesus spoke to our hearts in those words, ‘Greater love has no one than that someone lays down his life for his friends.’ There is something wonderful here, for it is not merely that one dies for a child or a parent, but it is that one is willing to die for friends.
“Would that every friend loved so deeply. Do you have such a friend? Do you have one someone to whom you can turn, knowing that they love you as much?
“Genuine love always focuses outward. The one loved does not necessarily merit the love, but the one who loves is unconcerned about whether the one loved is deserving. This truth is too often forgotten in this day of narcissistic exaltation.
“Tragically, much of what passes as love in the popular mind, is self-centred and self exalting. Modern lovers ask how ‘I’ will feel instead of considering the impact of love on another. If we will not live to build a person, we may be certain that we are unwilling to die for that person. If we are unwilling to esteem an individual, it is certain that we do not love that individual.
“Few of us will ever be asked to die for another, but each of us is asked to live for others. I cannot help but wonder what impact one individual, one man, one woman, loving so righteously and in such godly fashion that the source of that love could not be denied, would have on our communities? What would happen were that one individual to so love that it became general knowledge that someone loved in that manner? Would the family of that individual be transformed? I do not doubt it. What impact would such an individual have on this community? I cannot doubt but that we would be forever changed.
“Would our town be challenged and perhaps transformed? This seems to me a distinct possibility. I wonder if that individual could be you. The focus of love is always outward, and the love which will be revealed in each instance of genuine love is active and never passive. Though the emphasis in this fallen world is upon how love makes one feel, the emphasis of the Bible is upon how love makes one act. Genuine love compels the lover to seek the welfare of the one loved,” Brunt concluded.
The choir sang In Flanders Fields, after which Brunt gave closing prayer and everyone sang God Save the Queen.
Piper Keri Lindsay then led the march off the Colours with the flag bearers and legion members.
An addendum to the program was written as follows:
The Royal Canadian Legion Needs You
The Royal Canadian Legion cares for all those that have served our nation. As members we show our thanks by supporting and advocating for Veterans, by remembering their sacrifices, and by continuing the tradition of service in helping our communities.
Most of our Second World War veterans are gone now. This has caused a decline in our membership. However, we have a new era of veterans who are returning from Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Afghanistan and many other places, as well as the veterans of the RCMP who need our help. Many are suffering from post-traumatic stress and other injuries.
We are in need of new members to join our branch and become actively involved in the operations. The Royal Canadian Legion no longer requires new members to be related to persons that served in our military. This is a rewarding way to give back to your community. And to give back to the veterans who have served our country.
Please consider joining your local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion to continue to proudly support our veterans.
A Remembrance Day service was held at 2 p.m. in front of the cenotaph in Togo.
The day concluded with a Bells of Peace ceremony and supper at the Kamsack Legion Hall.