We were glad to see how many Brandon and CFB Shilo residents braved the weekend’s winter storm and snowy roads to take in the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Keystone Centre on Sunday.
About 2,000 folks — some in uniform, some in suits, and some in jeans and T-shirts — came together in remembrance of those men and women who gave their lives so that the rest of us may live in peace.
While the storm was somewhat delayed in its impact, by Sunday morning, Brandon residents were outside digging themselves out of the drifting white stuff.
As the Sun reported yesterday, police were kept busy all weekend with a barrage of accidents, most of which happened to be vehicles that lost control and ended up in the ditch along our highways and roads.
The dangerous driving conditions even prompted the RCMP to close the Trans-Canada Highway between Headingley and Brandon due to the “poor winter driving conditions.”
Nevertheless, most of the seats on the east side of the Keystone Centre arena were filled with poppy-clad attendees who observed the moment of silence, and witnessed the laying of wreaths, as Canadians have done for several generations now, since the end of the First World War.
In fact, according to the results of a survey published by The Historica-Dominion Institute on Nov. 9, interest in Remembrance Day appears to be on the rise, as three in 10 Canadians said they intended to attend a ceremony this year. That’s up by eight points from a similar survey conducted in 2010.
A further 80 per cent of Canadians said they would observe two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. on Remembrance Day, up by five points from 2010.
It’s perhaps not that surprising that the Canadian military has become more important to an increasing number of Canadians. For more than a decade, Canada has been involved in the Afghanistan conflict.
For Brandonites, who live as neighbours to hundreds of full-time soldiers in CFB Shilo and reservists at the 26th Field Regiment, the impact of Afghanistan on the lives of our fellow Canadians is very real.
Men and women that we know have fought and died doing their job as soldiers and their deaths have made an emotional impact — not just on the families and friends of those who have died, but on all Canadians, whether they agree with the military involvement in Afghanistan or not.
Here’s a few other statistics from the survey:
• 82 per cent of Canadians said they would wear a poppy in the lead-up to Remembrance Day.
• Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of Canadians agreed that the War of 1812 should be commemorated on Remembrance Day.
• About 55 per cent believed that other countries do more to honour their veterans than Canada.
• And 85 per cent of Canadians agree (57 per cent strongly, 27 per cent somewhat) that Remembrance Day should be a statutory holiday across Canada.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition November 13, 2012