November 10, dress rehearsal for Remembrance Day Concerts, night before Remembrance Day, my choir riser mate’s birthday. Worked during the day and then the quick run down to the rehearsal. We did the entire concert stopping where we needed to in order to brush up on some bits. Discussed how we were going to get on and off stage, etc. Rolled up those little bits and were on our way to a good nights sleep and all.
Made it back to the in laws home, received my timings for the morning from my Father In Law, who is the current President of The Ancient Roaring & Raucous Order of Armisticians. We, the Order, were meeting for breakfast at the Saskatoon Club in the morning and he wanted to be there with plenty of time to sort out last minute details.
Remembrance Day morning, woke up did all the morning things and was prepped and ready to go by 0745. On our way we arrived in plenty of time and I met a number of those whom I had not seen in well 30 ish years. Many names from my time as a kid tagging along with my mother Sunday afternoons at the Sgt Hugh Cairns, VC Armoury in good old Saskatoon. We had our orange juice, had the chance to be interviewed by CTV and then sat down to breakfast. A very civilized affair. Induction into the order was basically a short synopsis of your military career while we waited for the porridge to come out. Good conversations, coffee and a period of time to remember those who were no longer with us.
Breakfast and our own ceremony being over it was time to get out and onto the bus to Sasktel Centre and the public Ceremony of Remembrance.
The ceremony was very similar to what I remember from when I was a kid, except it was a different venue, different celebrant, different units on parade, etc… I took my car because I would have to leave early to get to the church for concert preparation, they even had veteran parking nice touch!! Anyway nice parking spot and then we were able to sit in the Armistician’s box – cool! There were 9400 spectators and probably around 1500 taking part in the ceremony – quite a number. Things that struck me about this ceremony – lots of cadets, lots of Mason’s (new for me to see), not as many veterans as I remember from 40+ years ago. Seeing the cadets on parade my wife turned to me and said ‘they’re so little’, I agreed. It was funny seeing them do their right dress and then watch this sea of Air Force Blue, Navy Blue and Army Green flow from left to right as they got into their correct location.
I miss Reverend Brandrick’s voice for the ceremony but Reverend Cannon Clay was very much up to the task. Peter England was the Musical Coordinator and is also a Tenor in the choir, he gave me excellent advice for when to depart in time to get to Knox for the concert. Peter also put together an excellent musical program. Funny but this year marked the 175th anniversary of the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans Association, the 90th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Legion and the 20th anniversary of the ceremony taking place in the Sasktel Centre.