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Unity emphasized by attendees at Edmonton Remembrance Day ceremonies

WATCH: Remembrance Day ceremonies took place in Edmonton on Monday and they come at a time when there have been feelings of divisiveness and separation. As Julia Wong reports, many at these events said it's important to remember unity as a country.

Thousands of Edmontonians attended Remembrance Day ceremonies around the city on Monday.

The ceremony at the University of Alberta Butterdome was packed with people, including Janie Warawa and her family.

READ MORE: Remembrance Day in Edmonton: Where you can attend a ceremony in the city

Warawa said she wanted her children to remember those who served and gave their lives for this country.

“It’s about sacrifice and it’s about the sacrifice other people made so we can have peace in our country,” she said.

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The ceremonies come at a time when there have been strong feelings of division and separation in Alberta.

READ MORE: Separatist sentiment in Alberta, Saskatchewan at ‘historic’ highs: Ipsos poll

But those who served, or are currently serving in the military, stress the importance of unity as a country.

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“We’re one country and it can only be that way,” said John Mahon, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Alberta-Northwest Territory Command.

Mahon served overseas several times, including in Egypt, Bosnia and Afghanistan.

“I’m not going to get into the politics. I don’t believe in all this divisiveness stuff.

“At the end of the day, we’re still one country and we have to be. We’re on Canadian Armed Forces and we must always stay that way.”

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Derek MacKay served as a medic in four tours with the military: the First Gulf War, Croatia, Bosnia and Afghanistan.

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He said it is critical for people to remember there is no reason to be divided.

“There’s only one race — and that’s human. We all bleed the same colour,” he said.

“We’re all the same people.”

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At a ceremony in Griesbach, there were similar feelings that events like Remembrance Day can help bring the country together.

READ MORE: COMMENTARY: Veterans’ families are linked by the clarion call to never forget

Nicky Rafuse attended the ceremony with her son Jack to support her husband, who is a member of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.

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She is hopeful Remembrance Day can unite the country.

“It’s common ground for everybody. We all share the same history,” Rafuse said.

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Private Jackson Godby has been in the military for 15 months and emphasized people should come together as Canadians.

“They should all set aside their differences and come together,” he said, “and realize our country is very great.”

Ipsos poll on Western separation records historic highs
Ipsos poll on Western separation records historic highs