Regina Remembers: Citizens attend Remembrance Day ceremonies in the Queen City

Remembrance Day this year was marked by the 80th anniversary of the start of the Second World War, and the 101st anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Reginans and people from across the province, country and the world attended Monday morning’s Remembrance Day services at both the Brandt Centre and the cenotaph in Victoria Park.

It was nearly a packed house at the Brandt Centre where citizens gathered to remember those who have served and who have fallen.

The memorial featured a number of officials and dignitaries including veterans, current members of the armed forces and RCMP, among many other groups.

It was an emotional service. The music of bag pipes filled the arena while tears were shed and people prayed for the lives that were sacrificed for Canadians and others around the globe.

One of the veterans who was part of the ceremony is 92-year-old Harvey Ross, who served for a year and a half with the navy during the Second World War.

A colonel with the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps, Ross said ceremonies such as this one remind him of what took place when he participated at the tail end of the war. He was 17 when he joined in 1944.

“It’s emotional, and this is the same kind of thing because it’s carrying on from the [war],” he said, reflecting on the fact it has been 80 years since the start of World War II. “The end of the war means something to me.”

He shared the story of his visit to Vimy Ridge in France. Ross and his son travelled to Vimy Ridge in 2017 where they spent 9 days to visit the cemeteries. “You see miles and miles and miles of little white crosses,” he described while holding back tears.

Ross was one of many veterans who received multiple standing ovations from the crowd during Monday’s ceremony.

Royal Canadian Legion Branch #001 President Ron Hitchcock. (Photo: Moises Canales/620 CKRM)

Ron Hitchcock, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #001 in Regina, has been a member for 49 years and was a part of the South Saskatchewan Regiment that was disbanded in 1968.

During the memorial at the arena, he chose to wear his red beret for the first time in 51 years, which he admitted felt great.

He said he has noticed more attention is being shown by the public for these events, noting there has been an increase in attendance numbers for both the Brandt Centre and Victoria Park ceremonies.

“We have more veterans going to schools and talking, younger people are becoming more aware with what sacrifice is and what their freedom entails,” he stated.

Legion members such as Hitchcock say it means a lot to their branch to see the public support the Legion, especially with their poppy fund over the last couple weeks.

Hitchcock said the donations provide veterans with the help they need, especially when there’s more of a focus on mental health for veterans.

“Mental health is still a stigma and PTSD is a mental health issue. We’re letting veterans and the public know that we have programs to help with that.”

He mentioned that the Legion is hoping to bring in more young volunteers at their branch to help with their events and programs.

Poppies were dropped from the rafters of the Brandt Centre during the Act of Remembrance. (Photo: Moises Canales/620 CKRM)

More from 620 CKRM