BRACEBRIDGE - The Pines Long Term Care Home honoured its 14 veterans and the many who have served Canada in an early Remembrance Day Ceremony on Wednesday.
It’s beautiful … every year it gets a little better
– Bob Hartman
Around 100 veterans, residents, staff, district officials, cadets and others joined in the national anthem, surrounded by poppies and photos of the veterans when they went off to war.
Bob Hartman began the tradition last year of organizing a special Remembrance Day ceremony for those at the Pines. A highly decorated volunteer, receiving both the Queen’s Jubilee medal and the citizen’s award from Bracebridge this year, Hartman signed up at the legion after moving to Bracebridge in honour of his father and brother who were both veterans. When his wife came to the Pines, he started a veterans’ group, which has led to their own Remembrance Day ceremony.
“It’s beautiful,” he said. “Every year it gets a little better.”
This year they decorated the room with camouflage netting and posters they received from Veteran’s Affairs Canada. They also invited the cadets.
Logan Pepper, warrant officer for the cadets, marched in with his fellow cadets and presented the veterans with stuffed animals and black baseball caps with the veteran’s emblem on the front.
Pepper has loved action movies since he was a child, and when he realized he did well in cadets, he decided he wanted to join the army.
“I feel proud to be doing it,” he said. “It brings just that little sense of pride that someday I’ll be sitting there and appreciate when someone does that for me.”
Though Pepper has done many Remembrance Day ceremonies, he said today was nerve wracking because the space was so small and they had to change their routine on the spot. He gave a lot of credit for its success to his comrades.
They’re the brotherhood that backs you up, he said.
Throughout the service, veterans and residents joined in the Lord’s Prayer, sang God Save the Queen and listened to speeches from Rick Williams, district commissioner of social services; Bruce Kruger, detective inspector; Bob Hartman, and Lisa Friesen. Some listened intently; others closed their eyes, remembering.
Proudly wearing his hat following the ceremony, Harold Blanchard said the day brought back a lot of memories.
But today, he said he was “just as happy as could be.”