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Canora Decoration Day pays tribute to those who have served

For many years, Decoration Day was the only Canadian remembrance of veterans before the adoption of Remembrance Day on Nov. 11.

CANORA - In honour of those who gave so much in serving Canada during times of war and peace, the annual Decoration Day service was held at the Canora Cemetery on June 9.

For many years, this was the only Canadian remembrance of veterans before the adoption of Remembrance Day on Nov. 11.

According to Wikipedia, Decoration Day began on June 2, 1890. Originally, the celebration served as a form of protest for veterans of the Battle of Ridgeway on June 2, 1866, who felt that their contributions to the protection of Canada during the Fenian Raids were being overlooked by the government. The veterans placed decorations at the Canadian Volunteers Monument near Queen's Park in Toronto on the anniversary of the battle.

This became an annual event, taking place on the weekend nearest the original date and accumulating more participants as further conflicts resulted in a larger body of Canadian veterans.

Following the singing of O Canada at the Canora Decoration Day service, Deb Gabora, Royal Canadian Legion Canora branch vice-president, welcomed those in attendance and invited everyone to a time of fellowship and refreshments at the Legion Dugout after the service.

Thom Carnahan, padre of the Canora branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, shared a scripture passage from John 12:23-26: “Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.”

Padre Carnahan followed with a prayer for veterans

“The souls of our veterans are with God. Their bodies are buried in peace, but their names live forever with us. O God, on this day we gather around our War Memorial and decorate the graves of our fallen comrades. Accept our memorial of their sacrifice, and this offering of praise and thanksgiving, through Jesus Christ our Lord. O God, we rejoice in all who have faithfully lived and honorably died, especially those who loved freedom and offered their lives in its defense.

As we lay these tributes – an offering of benediction, beauty and remembrance – let us be assured in our hearts that they who are absent from us have found a more perfect rest with You and have secured an unfading life.”

The placing of wreaths and poppies on the Memorial followed.

Representing the Government of Saskatchewan was Canora-Pelly MLA Terry Dennis. On behalf of the Canora branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, members Denise Leslie, Kylee Toffan, Dale Hooge, Padre Carnahan and Vice-President Gabora also took part.

This was followed by a moment of silence in memory of departed veterans.

Padre Carnahan shared The Act of Remembrance

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning…

We will remember them.

We Will Remember Them.

Padre Carnahan closed with the Benediction

“O God, you will care for them better than we in our love could do. Christ, bless our comrades we pray. Help us, O God, to be faithful to the ideals, which they struggled to maintain. We seek to perpetuate the memory of our departed comrades by service to their King. We remember our solemn obligation as we pray: Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, lest we forget, lest we forget.”

The benediction was followed by the singing of God Save the King.

Padre Carnahan said he was please with the interest shown in the service.

“We had more Royal Canadian Legion members and more in uniform. We had more members from public than previous years. We had representation from Air Cadets which was great.  We had an inclusive activity for all present to offer a poppy or wreath in respect, thankfulness, and remembrance for sacrifice of veterans right where some of them are buried. Important objectives were achieved.”

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