Dan Port comes from a long line of military members, and pandemic or not, there was no way the Calgarian was going to let this Remembrance Day go by without a proper ceremony.
“I was gonna do something even if it was just me and my wife but I thought, I’m gonna invite the neighbours over too,” Port said of his plans to observe Remembrance Day this year.
Port sent out a post on social media letting neighbours know he would be hosting the socially distanced event in the driveway of his Auburn Bay home.
“It’s really special how Dan put this on for us today so that we could take the time to honor our veterans,” said neighbour Rina Blacklaws, who attended the event with her two young sons.
Both of Port’s parents served in the military and he grew up on bases all over the world.
Eventually, Port would also serve in the military as a member of the 3rd Batallion Royal Canadian Regiment.
“We have to continue that remembrance of the people that serve so that we can have a free country and live the life we live and do gatherings like this,” said Port.
The ceremony was complete with readings from Port, two minutes of silence and the singing of the national anthem. A flock of geese surprised spectators with a fly-over. A young bagpiper who lives down the street played at the event.
“I was glad there was so many young kids here today, because it’s teaching them to remember also,” said Port of the children in attendance, some of whom had brought pictures of their relatives that had served.
Six-year-old Maximus Bouchard attended the ceremony in his great grandfather’s blazer which was adorned with military medals.
“He was a peacekeeper in Egypt,” explained Maximus’ older sister, Mackenzie.
“It’s just really important that we keep kids remembering that freedom costs,” said the sibling’s grandmother, Jo-Anne Turnbull, whose father was a peacekeeper.
Turnbull brought the pair to the ceremony and had planned on taking them to the Field of Crosses later in the day.
“What more could ask for, you know?” Port said of the turnout.
“That people support you like that, just shows, you know, people are still people and still care about each other.”