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Honouring those who served

Winnipeggers pay their respects at ceremonies

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Cpl. Evan Joyal with the Regimental Band of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles plays the bugle during the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Valour Road memorial in Winnipeg Monday, Nov. 11, 2013.

All over Winnipeg Monday, people paid tribute to those who served during Remembrance Day events around the city.

About 300 people shivered in the cold at the Valour Road Memorial.

Al Purdy, president of Royal Canadian Legion Winnipeg Branch No.1 -- Canada's first legion -- said the service at Valour Road always has a very strong community feeling.

Valour Road was the new name given to Pine Street in honour of three residents who were Victoria Cross recipients.

"People are genuinely proud of that heritage," said Purdy. "There are always lots of walk-ups" to the Remembrance Day service, he said.

The students at Clifton School, just a couple of blocks away, have adopted the memorial to Corp. Leo Clarke, Sgt.-Major Frederick William Hall and Lt. Robert Shankland. The children often go to the memorial to pick up litter and keep the area clean, Purdy said.

A military spokesman told the crowd Canada sent a force of more than half a million soldiers into the First World War. Of them, 64 were awarded the Victoria Cross, three of whom lived on the same block of Valour Road.

Branch No. 1 past president Bill Campbell noted how many young people attended the service. Two very young children placed a wreath, which Campbell said was the most touching part of the ceremony.

The largest service was hosted by the Joint Veterans Association of Manitoba and the Canadian Forces inside the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg.

The highlights included the "passing of the torch" ceremony by veterans of the Second World War, Korean, Yugoslavian and Afghanistan missions.

"We have a simple but very heartfelt message for you. Thank you," master of ceremonies Capt. Michelle Dagenais told the war veterans present. "Thank you for your unwavering service in peacetime and in war here in Canada and abroad."

"May we always remember that the price of democracy is time and the cost of freedom is anything but free," 17 Wing chaplain Lt.-Cmdr. Rev. John Barrett said in his prayer of remembrance.

Officials representing every level of government paid their respects at the service, which was presided over by Manitoba Lt.-Gov. Philip Lee.

Thousands -- including a large number of small children -- turned out to the packed ceremony.

Cpl. Jonathan Nebel, his wife Kayla Thomas and son Lukas, 3, were among them.

Nebel, who comes from a long line of proud military veterans stretching back past the First World War, said it was important his son take in the experience.

"I want to pass on to him the legacy of our family through Remembrance Day and all those who served in our family," Nebel said.

Other events paid specific tribute to those who served on the sea and in the air.

Winnipeg's naval reserve division, HMCS Chippawa, held a service at its building at 1 Navy Way. The division is named after HMS Chippawa, which served on Lake Erie during the War of 1812. The unit was the third source of naval personnel in Canada during the Second World War despite being the farthest inland.

At the Western Canada Aviation Museum, guided tours hailed the triumph and sacrifice of many Canadian citizens who fought and died for their country. The museum features a display dedicated to the Victoria Cross, the highest honour for bravery, self-sacrifice and extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy. The museum display pays tribute to seven pilots from the First and Second World War, including William Barker and Andrew Mynarski.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 12, 2013 A6

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