Remembrance Day parade of students in Hampstead on November 5, 2015 (Photo: Denis Beaumont)

Remembrance Day parade of students in Hampstead on November 5, 2015 (Photo: Denis Beaumont)

The annual Remembrance Day ceremony in Hampstead was held today in bright, unusually warm sunshine. Over 100 students participated from surrounding public and private elementary and high schools. The event was held in cooperation with the Royal Montreal Regiment to pay respects to the courage and sacrifice of our veterans at the Cenotaph and Holocaust Memorial in Hampstead Park.

The event is held each year ahead of November 11 in order to allow for students and military personnel to attend together.

The focus of Hampstead’s Remembrance Day ceremony is to introduce the next generation to the tradition of remembering those who went to war to fight for the rights and freedoms that we enjoy today.  Students attended from Hampstead School, Solomon Schechter Academy, Bialik High School, JPPS Elementary School, and École des Amis-du-Monde. All students participated in the ceremony.

Hampstead Councillors Edery, Goldwax, Shaffer, Mayor Steinberg, CSL Acting Mayor Glenn J. Nashen at Remembrance Day in Hampstead on November 5, 2015 (Photo: Denis Beaumont)

Hampstead Councillors Edery, Goldwax, Shaffer, Mayor Steinberg, CSL Acting Mayor Glenn J. Nashen at Remembrance Day in Hampstead on November 5, 2015 (Photo: Denis Beaumont)

Mayor William Steinberg spoke to the children assembled by emphasizing that we remember the past contributions of Canada’s military personnel who fought to earn freedom for future generations of Canadians. “Our dignitaries are the present and the past but you, boys and girls, are the future,” said Mayor Steinberg.

“This morning we remember the brave men and women who paid the ultimate price in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the peace keeping and peace making missions, and today they are serving in Iraq. We also remember those who returned with serious injuries and also those who returned with no visible signs of injury,” Mayor Steinberg said. “No one serves in a war zone without suffering. We are grateful to all the members of the Canadian Armed Forces, past and present. They served and continue to serve in faraway lands so that we do not have to experience the horrors of war in Canada and so that we may live our lives in peace and harmony.”

Royal Montreal Regiment guards at Remembrance Day in Hampstead on November 5, 2015 (Photo: Denis Beaumont)

Royal Montreal Regiment guards at Remembrance Day in Hampstead on November 5, 2015 (Photo: Denis Beaumont)

“In the 1914 poem, For the Fallen, we read, ‘They shall not grow old’, and it ends with the words, which we repeat, ‘We will remember them, ‘” said Mayor Steinberg. “The verse does not end with, ‘We remember them’, but rather, ‘We WILL remember them’. It is a call to future generations to never forget the sacrifices and to learn the lessons of history. It is a call to value peace, freedom and democracy. And that is why I said that you, boys and girls, are our most important guests. You are tomorrow’s leaders and I have every confidence that you, too, will remember them.”

Adath Israel Rabbi Michael Whitman said to the children that we enjoy the right to vote and choose who will govern us, a right not shared with the majority of the world’s population. We enjoy these privileges because of the sacrifices made by so many who served in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Cote Saint-Luc was represented by Councillor Mitchell Brownstein, Stephen Erdelyi and myself, in my capacity as Acting Mayor. Former Councillor Isadore Goldberg and former Men’s Club President Jack Budovitch, both wearing their WWII military decorations, were also in attendance as was CSL Public Security Director Jordy Reichson and newly appointed Station 9 Police Commander Jean O’Malley.

The event in Hampstead Park was preceded by a ceremonial march of students from Hampstead School to the memorial site, led by the soldiers of the Royal Montreal Regiment.  The Regiment’s participation in Hampstead’s annual commemoration has become a tradition for the town, reinforcing the long-standing partnership between the Regiment and Hampstead.

In 2008, Hampstead granted the Royal Montreal Regiment the Freedom of the City, allowing the regiment the privilege of parading through the community with colours flying, bayonets fixed and bands playing. “The Regiment’s partnership with the Town is a great source of pride for Hampstead,” said Mayor Steinberg.

 

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