HUMBOLDT — Once again Humboldt took time to remember the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces during the Remembrance Day service on Nov. 11.
Wreaths were laid on the altar by community members and beautiful words were said in honour of soldiers and their families.
While all of this is an important way of remembering, guest speaker Malcolm Eaton, a former principal, former mayor, and current military historian, spoke about other powerful ways the sacrifice of veterans is being remembered beyond the hour-long service.
As a teacher, he wondered what Remembrance Day was all about; which wars is it about, what events, or is it to remember how our country was shaped by war?
It is all those things, he said, but also, thanks so social media and the internet, we have been able to see how others choose to remember.
“We are seeing expressions of remembrance and recognition in communities across the country as well as personal stories about family members and individuals, and expressions of support for all who have served and are serving our country in the military.”
In the last few weeks alone, he has seen many acts of remembrance that go beyond Nov. 11, including local examples.
The work of Robin Moore, a Humboldt Public School teacher, to bring the No Stone Left Alone ceremony to Humboldt has provided a wonderful opportunity for students to honour veterans they never knew who, nonetheless, fought for their freedom.
“Nothing is more personal or powerful than standing before a tombstone, a grave and reading the name of the person who served our country in the military,” Eaton said.
Humboldt students now join the nearly 10,000 Canadian students in honouring veterans this way.
Humboldt teachers, including Moore, do an excellent job of educating students about remembrance day, Eaton said.
Watson has also taken on a unique remembrance project this year by honouring 38 veterans with pole banners along their town streets. Each banner has a photo of a Watson veteran and their service information so anyone driving their streets can remember a veteran who served their country. North Battleford as well as took on this project to honour their veterans, including eight brothers from one Métis family who joined up in the Second World War, Eaton said.
During the recent federal election, Eaton went to cast his ballot at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #28. Along the east wall of the legion hall, looking over everyone’s shoulders as they marked their ballots, were the 42 GeoMemorial Commemorative Naming project plaques of Humboldt veterans.
Eaton saw a great symbolism in “seeing someone exercise their democratic right in a free society to vote with those that gave their lives defending that right looking over their shoulders. It’s a powerful image.”
The naming project itself ensures that thousands of geographical features in Saskatchewan and Canada hold the name of a Canadian veteran. Nearly 4,000 features have been named in Saskatchewan alone, and some of these hold emotional significance to families and friends, Eaton said. One example includes Dustin Wasden Island on Wasden Lake. While the island was named for Cpl. Dustin Wasden who died in Afghanistan, the lake was named for his great uncle, Pvt. Harold Wasden who died in the Second World War.
While the Humboldt people gathered on Nov. 11 to remember and honour those who gave their lives and served our country, in even more ways are we engaging with the spirit of Remembrance Day.