Saskatoon Veterans honoured at Canada’s largest indoor Remembrance Day service – Saskatoon

The 2022 Remembrance Day Service was held at the SaskTel Center on Friday, including a laying of the wreaths, music, Remembrance Parade, and readings of prayers and “In Flanders’s Fields.”

The service was led by the Commanding Officer of the North Saskatchewan Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel (LCol) Dennis Sansom, CD. He has served a long career in the Canadian military, been deployed overseas and has a family history of military service.

LCol Sansom had two grandfathers participate in the First World War and two uncles in the Second World War. This legacy of service was a contributing factor for LCol Sansom to join the military. He spent 30 years in the Regular Force with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry prior to his transfer to the North Saskatchewan Regiment. He has deployed to the Middle East three times in his career.

The theme of the 2022 service was “Passing the Torch.” The “torch,” referenced in Canadian LCol John McCrae’s poem “In Flander’s Fields,” symbolizes the transfer of responsibilities in defending our freedoms from one generation of Canadian Military Veterans to the current Armed Forces members.

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The University of Saskatchewan held a Remembrance Day Service at Memorial Gates on the USask campus.

Kabilan Moulitharan, Global Saskatoon

“Thousands of our citizens come out every year to view the ceremony here, the largest indoor service in Canada,” said Malcom Young, Vice Chair of the 2022 Saskatoon Remembrance Day Citizens Committee.

“Remembrance Day is extremely important for me because I’m a Veteran of 32-year service in the Canadian military, and as well as the fact that some of my family served this country in the military since 1900. But, more importantly, Remembrance Day is important to us as a community here in Saskatoon.”

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“This is our 95th Remembrance Day service,” said Young.

“So today, we are paying compliments to two World War II Veterans, Mr. Reg Harrison, 100-year-old Veteran, 431 Squadron RCAF Bomber Command and Mr. Bob Atkinson, member of the Grenadier Guards, who is 98. Both of these gentlemen have served their country, not only in terms of overseas, but both were wounded during the Second World War conflict.”

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“We all have someone who we think about in particular on this day,” said Atkinson, “I do, I know. It’s just a time for reflection.”

“If it was forgotten about now, well then all of our past sacrifices would be lost and that would be a shame. It’s just something that should be kept going.”

Harrison spoke on how it felt to be honored in front of 6,000 people.

“Words can’t describe it, it’s really amazing when you think about it. I served Bomber Command, 55,000 were killed and I survived four plane crashes. I just feel I’m really lucky to be here. I often think of all the ones that never came home, never got a change to get married or raise a family.”

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Harrison has lived in Saskatoon since 1947.

“I guess you could say I’m a Saskatoonian,” Harrison said. “Here in Canada, we are really fortunate that we have a free country that can be governed by the people.”

“People in their daily lives should just stop and think how fortunate they really are to be in a free country. For some people, this is just another holiday, but for all of the families that lost loved ones, they have several Remembrance Days during the year when the loved one has a birthday or Christmas get-together. The average person never thinks of that.”

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Wreaths were also laid in remembrance at the Memorial Gates on the University of Saskatchewan campus.

Wreaths laid at Memorial Gates in honor of Remembrance Day at the University of Saskatchewan.

Kabilan Moulitharan, Global Saskatoon

The Memorial Gates were unveiled in 1928 in memory of the 345 students, staff, faculty and alumni who served in the First World War and the 69 who were killed overseas.

“Today, the Memorial Gates stand as a place to honor the lives and the stories of those who have served our country, at home and abroad,” said Cheryl Hamelin, Vice President, University Relations.

“Today, and on all days, we remember and honor all those who have proudly served and sacrificed for our country.”

“In Flanders’s Fields” was read by the university’s Student Union President, Abhineet Goswami, before the wreaths were laid.

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