Sainte Anne de Bellevue Legion honours veterans with parade and cenotaph ceremony

By Kevin Woodhouse

The young girl’s sign read ‘Thank you’ as she stood with her dad and brother in a light drizzle on the main street in Ste. Anne de Bellevue. Soon, she was able to hold that sign up proudly as veterans, Legion members, Lakeshore 690 Squadron cadets and members of the community walked past on their way to Kelso Park for a cenotaph ceremony honouring those men and women who gave up their lives in foreign wars. 

The parade had just come from the Veterans’ Hospital following a Remembrance Day ceremony for the veterans. And for those not able to get to the meeting hall, the ceremony was broadcast to all of the rooms throughout the hospital.

Kevin McCready is the president of the Ste. Anne de Bellevue Legion Branch 91 and has been part of the organizing team that plans the parade, Veteran’s hospital visit as well as a touching laying of wreaths ceremony at the cenotaph in the park, overlooking the water.

“We need time to remember our veterans and as long as the legion is around, we will do just that,” McCready told The Suburban. McCready also served a master of ceremonies for the wreath event.

Many young families were on hand for the wreath laying ceremony that began with the squadron’s stirring rendition of O Canada as the large flag was flown proudly. McCready has noticed more and more young people interested in taking part and honouring veterans of older and more recent conflicts. At a Legion dinner Friday night, “we had 12 honoured guests who were soldiers recently returned from Afghanistan,” said McCready. “Nobody wants war and today’s generation respects our peacekeepers.”

When the bagpiper played following a sombre Last Post, the dozens of assembled at the park were absolutely quiet in their reverence amidst the drizzle, apt weather for reflecting on those Canadians’ lives during war time.

Wreaths were laid by Jacques-Cartier MNA Geoffrey Kelley, Lac St. Louis MP Francis Scarpaleggia, Baie d’Urfe Mayor Maria Tutino and newly elected Mayors Jane Guest of Senneville and Ste. Anne de Bellevue’s Paola Hawa.

Just before the conclusion of the ceremony, McCready told the assembled to “remember our veterans every day of the year because without them, we wouldn’t be here. Let us remember our recent veterans from the Gulf conflicts. If you see a veteran, please say ‘thank you.'”

The same sentiment being expressed by a child to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice of service to protect the freedoms of Canada.

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