As Canadians across the nation gathered to remember veterans and fallen soldiers, 300 people met at the Pine Beach cenotaph to pay tribute on Wednesday morning, November 11.
“On this day we take the time to remember the sacrifices made by our veterans, service men and women, and also recognize the sacrifices made by their families,” opened Cmde Rick Cartmel, chairman of the Legion Branch 245 in Dorval.
And truly, people took the time to remember. For two minutes, all that could be heard was the flapping of three flags that adorn the war memorial: Dorval, Quebec, and Canada.
Cmde Ron Diano was a corporal overseas in the air force and took part in the NATO exercise during the Cold War. He’s rarely missed a Remembrance Day ceremony.
“I think it’s important for us to do it, for people to attend, and to remember the sacrifice that was made by a lot of people. We’re here enjoying the type of life that we have and it’s because of people who laid their lives on the line or left limbs in different parts of the world,” he said.
Veteran Louis Lang served with the RAF Ferry Command delivering aircraft overseas in the Second World War. “Some of it I would like to forget but it’s always there with us,” said Lang. At 92-years-old, Lang admits that he may have memory lapses, but does not complain. “It’s nice to be here.”
To see the turn out every year means a lot to him. “It brings back a lot of memories, some good, some not so good. But it’s nice to be together with comrades.” This year, the Dorval Elementary School paid tribute with a song of peace.
Peggy Birkett places a family portrait from 1940 in her pocket before going to the ceremony each year. “I’m taking you with me, dad,” she said. Her father, Private Robert H. Birkett, served overseas from 1940 to 1945 while her mother worked in the munitions factory in Verdun.
Pvt. Birkett, known to most as Harry, managed to come home unscathed. He passed away in 2003. “He was in the Italian campaign, so he went from the foot of Italy all the way up to the top. I’m sure he had lots of stories but he never talked about it.”
The crowd was invited for camaraderie, hospitality, and refreshments at the Dorval Branch 245 after the ceremony.