Manitobans stopped to honour the sacrifice of those who serve and have served in the Canadian military at Remembrance Day ceremonies across the province Friday.
In Winnipeg roughly two thousand people gathered downtown for an in-person return of the largest Remembrance Day event in the city.
The Joint Veterans Association hosted the event, the first since 2019, at the RBC Convention Centre.
Armand Lavallee, chair of the association, said it was good to see any crowd come together after years of being apart because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Very Reverend Paul Johnson spoke at the ceremony, calling Remembrance Day a moment to reflect on the true meaning of freedom.
“Here we come, face to face again, with the nobility of duty, of service, of sacrifice,” he said.
“And here, today, we are reminded that these ideals strengthen all of us and give hope for very survival of our society, our nation, and our world.”
Premier Heather Stefanson, Lt.-Gov. Anita Neville, Minister of Northern Affairs Dan Vandal and Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham were among the hundreds who flocked to the Winnipeg ceremony.
Stefanson said the day is a chance for Canadians to “pause in a moment of silence to honour and remember those who have served, and continue to serve Canada during times of war, conflict and peace.
“We remember the more than 2.3 million Canadians who have served throughout our nation’s history and the more than 118,000 Canadians who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Stefanson said in a written statement.
“Let us remember those who fought, those who died and those who were injured. Let us also remember those who carried the scars and memories of war throughout their lives. Let us remember those who have worked for peace, today and throughout our country’s history.
“On behalf of all Manitobans, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to our military personnel and their families, for their commitment and dedication to a safer world and bright future for all.”
Jane Brown attended the Winnipeg ceremony for the first time on Friday. Brown, who is the president of the Royal Canadian Legion Provincial Council Ladies Auxiliary, said taking part in the events can be nerve-racking.
“It’s just a huge crowd. I’m a small-town girl,” she said.
Brown had an uncle who was killed while serving in the Second World War. She said it’s important to honour those who sacrificed their lives.
“We need to remember and never forget that the sacrifice that was made.”
–With files from The Canadian Press and Global’s Skylar Peters