SASKATOON – Saskatoon residents continue to support active service members and war veterans by attending the city’s annual Remembrance Day ceremony in large numbers, according to one the event’s organizers.
“We’ve got great participation from the community here within Saskatoon,” said Brent Wignes, the Saskatoon Remembrance Day committee chairman.
“The interest is there, the promotion is there more in the schools,” he added.
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The annual ceremony drew 9,640 attendees, according to an announcement made toward the end of the program. The service is considered one of the largest indoor Remembrance Day events in Canada.
“By almost having ten thousand people here, the citizens of Saskatoon truly do appreciate all our peace keepers that we’ve had, all our veterans that we have,” said Saskatoon Mayor Don Atchison, who laid a wreath at the cenotaph during the ceremony.
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The annual service can be an opportunity to educate young residents on the history that’s shaped Canada. Colin Poncelet said he brought his family to the event for that purpose.
“There’s nothing better than first-hand experience, you get to feel it and be there and hear the stories first-hand,” said Poncelet.
A number of veterans and active service members were in attendance Wednesday, taking part and observing the service. Saskatoon-born Sgt. Mike Wong served as cenotaph guard commander during the ceremony and said the day allowed him time for reflection.
“It brings back a lot of emotional memories and you just try and pay your respects to all the fallen and veterans as best as you can,” said Wong, who has served time Afghanistan.
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One veteran who received extra attention after the service was Albin Rollack, who served in the Second World War and survived being a POW. The 96-year-old posed for photographs and signed autographs for a group of children.
“People want to come up and shake his hand; it’s kind of like being a rock star,” said Larry Rollack, of the attention his father was getting.
“It’s touching, can’t say any more, it’s touching.”
Watch below: Thousands attend Saskatoon’s Remembrance Day service