BY BRANDY FULTON
On Nov. 11 hundreds of people from Waterloo Region came together for a moment of silence to remember those who served and continue to serve in Canada’s military, especially those veterans who died fighting for our freedom.
This year there was a change in venue, from Kitchener’s Cenotaph to Carl Zehr Square.
“This change in venue is to ensure that there is enough room to accommodate those who come to remember and honour those who have served and continue to serve in Canada’s military while construction continues on the streets surrounding the cenotaph,” said Colleen Collins, manager of corporate communications for the City of Kitchener, in a press release.
The construction is in preparation for light rail transit (LRT), a series of electric trains that will run on tracks between the Conestoga Mall in Waterloo and Fairview Mall in Kitchener.
This year a drumhead ceremony was held in place of the normal service at the Cenotaph. A drumhead ceremony was usually conducted in a battlefield when no altar or building was available. On Remembrance Day they continued this practice, placing the flags and wreaths on drums.
“We had never done a drumhead service like this before,” said Dan McVey, secretary for Branch 50 of the Royal Canadian Legion.
In addition to the Canadian flag the Legion 50 flag is very important. This year the flag was carried by Conestoga College’s Krystina McVey, Dan’s daughter. She is a fourth-year early learning program development student and a former air and army cadet.
Approximately 300 people, including cadets, Mounties, veterans, police and firefighters, marched from the clock tower in Victoria Park to King Street in downtown Kitchener. They surrounded Carl Zehr Square to listen to the Remembrance Day ceremony.
Dan said there were a few situations he was not prepared for during the ceremony. The wind often picked up, and the clanging of metal clips from the city flags made it hard to hear the guest speakers. And getting into the colder months of the year, rain and snow were a possibility that day.
“The city kept asking if we wanted to put up a tent above the stage in case of rain or snow,” he said. “I said if it rains we get wet, it’s not like we stopped fighting when it rained or snowed.”
The future of the Remembrance Day ceremony venue for Kitchener is still unknown. Dan said Legion 50 will not be able to make a decision until the construction of the LRT in that area is complete
“It presents an interesting challenge,” he said. “When talking with ION they said they can stop the trains from running in that direction but my question is can we stand on the tracks?”
The construction has also sparked a possible venue change for the Cenotaph. However, a decision will not be made until the construction around the current area is completed next year. The city is not sure where the Cenotaph would be moved to.