Over the last month, 809 Newark Squadron has had more opportunities to remember than many.
We began in early October with a long-planned trip to the UK and France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Our own Flight Sergeant Zalepa shared his thoughts here. https://www.niagarathisweek.com/opinion-story/7807452-notl-cadet-reflects-on-amazing-opportunity-to-visit-vimy-memorial/
Upon our return, there were barely two weeks to rest before the Poppy Campaign was upon us, emphasizing all of the experiences we had while overseas. In addition, four of our cadets attended Grace United Church and served as a flag party for the annual Remembrance service there.
A week later, Remembrance Day itself came… on a Saturday. Normally, our cadets have to choose between participating in their school activities and attending our squadron’s observations at the two town cenotaphs, but not this year. School observations were well-attended and participation, particularly by our new first-year cadets, was enthusiastic. Cadet Lett had the privilege of being the speaker for her own school’s Remembrance Service. https://www.niagarathisweek.com/community-story/7914566-crossroads-keeps-the-promise-to-remember/
At the end of the school day on Friday, just after the going down of the sun, the squadron gathered to prepare for the next day’s activities. At the dawning of the sun, a cadet honour guard took its traditional place at the Old Town cenotaph, standing vigil. Each member of the squadron took their places successively, relieving the previous shift at the tops and bottoms of the hour, until the Old Town Remembrance Day parade itself. All members of the squadron save for those still standing vigil formed up for not one, but two parades (one at the Old Town and one at Queenston) to conclude the day. http://niagaranow.com/news.phtml/158/
The very next day, five of the cadets who went on the Vimy Trip participated in the Remembrance service at St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Niagara on the Lake and shared their stories as well.
This season is one of the busiest of our training year. It is a time where the commitment and respect (and exhaustion) of our squadron’s cadets shows most. I and the rest of our staff are proud, humbled and privileged to lead and serve each and every one of them.