Essex remembers - Remembrance Day ceremony met with snow

by Sylene Argent

When in the trenches, soldiers had to endure all types of inclement and uncomfortable weather. And, despite the cold and the snow experienced on Monday, there was a great turnout of proud residents at the local cenotaph for the Essex Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 201) Remembrance Day ceremony.

  A couple hundred residents paid homage to veterans and fallen soldiers by attending the ceremony, which offered a moment of silence to remember the sacrifices they made for Canadian freedoms. A portion of the event also provided local politicians, service clubs, veteran groups, and family members of those who have served, to lay a memorial wreath at the base of the cenotaph as the Silver Ambassadors Concert Band played live music for the occasion.

  “In 1914, the population of Essex was approximately 1353. When WWI broke out, 198 of them signed a cheque, up to and including their lives,” Essex Legion Branch President Erroll Caza said during the ceremony. “Indeed, 32 of them had their checks cashed defending the freedoms for which they fought.

  Caza also spoke of the many lives lost throughout the history of wars, peacekeeping missions, and training activities in which Canada was involved.

  “Throughout all the wars, members of the Essex community were active participants and my of those who sacrificed their lives have their names etched on plaques and the wall which is displayed before you,” Caza continued.

  Caza thanked Essex Council for putting trust and confidence in the Essex Legion to plan and organize the Remembrance Day ceremony. “The collaboration between the Legion and the community is a great bond that ensures the mainstay of the Legion’s existence of remembering sacrifices of our hometown warriors, who paid the ultimate sacrifice, will always be remembered.

  “We also have to remember those who died, not in the field of battle, but directly as a result of the injuries and effects caused from the field of battle. These warriors returned home and are considered silent sufferers whose demons experienced in conflict cause them to take their own lives. They were not weak; they are also heroes and we must remember them.

  As a veteran, Caza said a simple “thank you” for his service is greatly appreciated. He often tries to respond to those gestures of gratitude by saying “thank you for recognizing it.”

  While wrapping up his speech, Caza thanked those who attended the ceremony to pay homage to their hometown heroes.

  “Freedom is not free and the cost can never be measured accurately,” he said.     

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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