Row by row they marched towards the Remembrance Day ceremony on the waterfront in Kingston, Ont. And though they were there to honour veterans of World Wars, the violence in Ukraine and Israel could not be overlooked.
Residents young and old gathered at the cenotaph to pause and reflect on the lives lost in wars gone by.
“Those that we remember and respect, they paid the ultimate price, and we were blessed to be able to come home safe,” Master Warrant Officer (retired) Kevin Luther said.
“I think about my granddad who fought in the war, and he was there from start to finish, and he was one of the fortunate ones that came home,” Kingston resident Jason White said.
“I always observe remembrance to remind me of my dad,” retired Leading Seaman Merrill Gooderham added.
For those who’ve served our country, the annual day of remembrance is always a sombre one as memories of those lost and time spent abroad come flooding back.
“It’s very emotional when I’m standing there and they’re doing The Last Post, moment of silence and things like that,” said retired Able Seaman Charles D’Aoust.
“It’s hard to hold back the tears.”
But on this Remembrance Day, it’s hard not to think of the present day and the conflicts currently taking place in the Middle East and Europe.
Those at the ceremony wish the violence overseas could come to an end.
“In today’s climate, we need to do a lot of thinking. There’s a lot of stuff going on,” resident Jane Stolz said.
“It’s getting kind of sickening that people can’t sit down and talk to settle these conflicts, they have to use violence … it just really sucks,” D’Aoust added.
“It’s disheartening that bullies keep winning, largely … if people could just learn to live together,” said resident Bett Leverette.
As another Remembrance Day comes and goes, the fighting taking place in the Middle East and Ukraine has brought a deeper sense of meaning to those who fought and died to keep our country at peace.