Quebecers remember and honour the fallen

Photo: Shirley Nadeau

Representatives of the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP formed the honour guard around the Cross of Sacrifice during the Remembrance Day ceremony. Hundreds of soldiers, sailors and airmen stood in ranks on Grande Allée.

On a sunny but cold morning, hundreds of people gathered around the Cross of Sacrifice on Grande Allée on Nov. 11 to pay homage to the thousands of members of the Canadian Armed Forces who gave their lives while in service during the Great War, the Second World War, the Korean War, the Afghan War and other world conflicts. 

Approximately 300 members of the 35th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group and of Naval Reserve and Army Reserve units in the Quebec City area marched from the Citadelle to stand at attention before the Cross during the ceremony. Major Jean-François Labonté of the 2nd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment, led the troops on parade. Other groups participating were The Royal Canadian Legion – Branch 265 (Quebec), Veterans Association, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Quebec City Police Service (ceremonial unit) and the 5th Military Police Platoon.  

Master of Ceremony Jacques McKay gave a historical introduction which focussed on the centennial of the battles of Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele and the Dieppe Raid.  

After the military and political dignitaries arrived and took their places, the National Anthem was played by the Voltigeurs de Québec band. At 10:50 a.m. there was a reading of “In Flanders Fields”. A bugler played the Last Post, followed by two minutes of silence. In the time-honoured tradition, at exactly 11 a.m., when World War I ended on Nov. 11, 1918, the bell of the Parliament building rang the hour and the bugler played the Reveille. Aviators of the 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron then flew low over the cenotaph in two Griffon helicopters to pay tribute from the skies.
Christian Haerinck, a bagpiper of the 78th Fraser Highlanders, played the Elegy before military padres led those gathered in prayers for peace and homage to the fallen. 

As federal, provincial and municipal political leaders and representatives of various churches, veterans associations and cadet corps approached the foot of the monument in succession to lay wreaths of flowers in memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, the 5e Régiment d’artillerie légère du Canada fired a 21-gun salute from the Citadelle. 

It was heartening to see many more people attend this year’s Remembrance Day ceremony, most likely because Nov. 11 fell on a Saturday this year, and the beautiful, sunny weather certainly helped too. After the official ceremony was over and the military personnel marched off, many members of the public came forward to place their poppies at the foot of the Cross … lest we forget. 
Proud veterans, some wearing period uniforms, stand at attention in front of the Cross of Sacrifice to remember and honour their fallen comrades.  Photo by Shirley Nadeau