Windsor, Ont. –
Many Windsor-Essex residents turned out to honor local veterans at Remembrance Day events across the region.
Hundreds gathered for an in-person ceremony at the Windsor Cenotaph on Thursday morning.
The City of Windsor partnered with the Windsor Veterans Memorial Services Committee (WVMSC), local military representatives, Windsor Police Service, and performing artists for its Remembrance Day program.
Representatives of the WVMSC, wreath bearers, and government officials attended the downtown Windsor cenotaph for the outdoor service and the traditional “fly over” by historical aircraft went ahead as normal.
The city welcomed spectators this year, but asked residents to respect social distancing and wear masks to help protect vulnerable guests from COVID-19.
Remembrance Day at the Windsor Cenotaph in Windsor, Ont., on Nov. 11, 2021. (Chris Campbell / CTV Windsor)
“Celebrations like this give us what we need to carry on.”
Theresa Charbonneau, Silver Cross mother of Cpl. Andrew Grenon, killed in Afghanistan in 2008, says, “As much as I appreciate the pandemic and what it means, it still, it truly does my heart good to see the number of people here.”
Lt. Col. Allan Finney described this year’s service as “fantastic,” noting it would still have been preferable not to have it take place during a global pandemic.
“The weather held out great for us. It would be nice to obviously have more people come out without the masks and so on, but the restrictions are there for everyone’s safety.”
Ninety-nine-year-old Pte. Charles Davis was one of two surviving Second World War veterans in attendance. Davis landed on Juno Beach in June 1944.
“I’m a lucky, fortunate individual,” Davis explains. “A lot of them weren’t. They were killed on the first day. I’m still here.”
Davis wishes more people could have been in attendance, particularly students.
“I wish they were taught more about the veterans and the different wars that have transpired, that Canada has participated in over the years.” Davis adds, “Because without a doubt, the finest country in the world, without a doubt.”
Joseph Ruttan brought his two daughters telling CTV News Windsor he believes acts of remembrance should happen more often, “Shouldn’t just be a day….Should be ongoing.”
Ruttan’s grandfather was a Second World War veteran who he says instilled values that continue to be be handed down.
“Always have to come out, show respect for why we’re free to roam and do what we are today.” Daughter Vivian Ruttan added, “I think it’s something they should do every day, wear a poppy or be thankful for all the things they have.”