Large crowds gathered at the cenotaphs in Brockville, Belleville and Kingston for Remembrance Day ceremonies.
Wreaths were laid by both civilian and military organizations in all three cities along with two minutes of silence to honour those that have and are serving Canada.
For Veteran Jim Davis, Remembrance Day is very personal.
A member of the Kingston Branch of the Royal Canadian Regiment Association, Davis has served in Cypris, Somalia, Bosnia, and Haiti, and completed two tours in Afghanistan over his 36-year military career.
“Particularly Afghanistan, two combat tours, I’ve lost many friends and compatriots in that theatre of operations,” said Davis. “It’s a day filled with mixed emotions, certainly melancholy and I just pledge not to forget their sacrifice as well.”
Jack O’Brien is also a member of the Kingston Branch of the Royal Canadian Regiment Association. He’s also served in Cypris, Europe and the Middle East on NATO and United Nations peacekeeping missions.
“We can’t forget, these guys,” said O’Brien with passion. “The ones that never come home, we should never forget them.”
Davis says he has a number of reasons for attending the ceremony at Kingston’s cenotaph, the most obvious one is paying respect to those that have fallen.
“Second, it’s for all of those who have come home with both physical wounds and non-physical wounds who suffer continually on a day-to-day basis,” said Davis. “We live in a beautiful country, one of the best around the world and we should not lose sight of that.”
Davis says his wife, father and father-in-law are also veterans.
“I’m heartened to see poppies all over the city. It’s important I think that every Canadian who has not served do take at minimum the two minutes silence at 11 to remember those who have paid the ultimate price to enjoy the freedoms that they enjoy today,” Davis said.
If Davis has one criticism, he says he would like to see more education throughout the year.
“We have such a rich history not just in conflict, but in terms of providing peace and security to those people who don’t otherwise have it,” said Davis.
Lilian McNamee’s husband and father both served in the Canadian military.
McNamee is the chaplain for the Brockville Legion Branch 96.
“I know how much these people sacrificed. It was in their young years when they were just getting established,” said McNamee. “So many of them went off to war overseas or serving here in Canada which sometimes isn’t appreciated.”
Approximately 1,000 were involved in the morning Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Kingston cenotaph and observed two minutes of silence, paying respect to veterans and active service members.