"We must not allow ignorance to cloud memory."
It is with these opening remarks that the Honorable J. Michel Doyon, Lieutenant Governor of Québec began his address on the occasion of the annual commemoration ceremony held last Sunday June 2 at the National Field of Honour in Pointe-Claire, Québec. He continued, "We have the immense privilege to enjoy freedom. We therefore have the duty to never forget."
Under a somber, rainy sky the numerous guests and attendees were greeted and invited to gather in commemoration by the President of the Last Post Fund, LCol (Ret'd) Ray Mikkola. The ceremony unfolded according to tradition and protocol under the expert guidance of Michel Crowe, Québec Branch President of the Last Post Fund.
Prayers of representatives of three professions of faith, Jewish, Protestant and Catholic, followed the speeches. The bugler then solemnly sounded the Last Post, the moment in the ceremony symbolizing the soldier’s death.
After marking two minutes of silence, the 3rd Montréal Field Battery of Artillery fired 2 cannon shots following which the piper played the Lament. The bugler then sounded the Reveille, signifying the resurrection of the spirit of the fallen.
Last Post Fund National President LCol (Ret'd) Ray Mikkola, CD presented thanks to singer Ms. Jean Miso on behalf of the Last Post Fund, presenting her with a certificate of appreciation for her dedication to commemorating Veterans. Ms. Miso graced us with her interpretation of a song she had composed in homage to Veterans, in a performance enhanced by sign language.
Wreaths were laid by dignitaries representing the countries of Canada and Poland, the municipalities of Kirkland and Beaconsfield, as well as the Royal Canadian Legion and the many other representatives of military organisations that were present. We were particularly honoured to count among us two Veterans, notable both for their service as well as for their advanced age.
Mr. Władysław Rzewucki survived the deportation of his entire family to Siberia, and ultimately was able to join the II Polish Corps, with whom he fought alongside Allied forces during the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy.
Mr. Harry Hurwitz survived the sinking of N.C.S.M. Athabaskan G07 which escorted many convoys during the battle of the Atlantic. At 99 years of age, he is the last living survivor of that ship.
We must never forget the sacrifices of those who defended us, and those who continue to defend our country.
The ceremony was brought to a close by the military band playing God Save the Queen followed by our national anthem.
This ceremony was the culmination of a weekend of commemorations marked by a ceremony at the Clock Tower in the Old Port, Montréal on Saturday June 1 as well as a brief ceremony at the Mount-Royal cemetery Sunday morning. We remind all who are interested in commemorating along with us that these ceremonies take place annually on the first weekend in June and are open to the public.
The Act of Remembrance
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.
We will remember them.
- Excerpt from For the Fallen - Laurence Binyon