The Iqaluit Royal Canadian Legion will be celebrating its 63rd Remembrance Day ceremony on Nov. 11.
It’s an impressively long and historically well-attended service that usually draws a crowd of close to 400 observers.
A parade made up of RCMP, Legion members, the Canadian Armed Forces, Rangers and air cadets will begin at the RCMP Division V headquarters after the traditional two moments of silence at 11 a.m. The parade participants will march to the cadet hall in downtown Iqaluit. The Legion requests that members of the public congregate at 10:45 a.m. so the ceremony can follow traditional protocol.
“It’s the biggest day of our year and the most sacred in our calendar of events,” said John Graham, president of the Branch 168 Legion.
“I think it’s a real success story for the Legion,” he said of the longstanding and well-attended memorial event. “It serves the purpose in bringing families together” to remember the conflicts of the past and the sacrifices of numerous Canadians.
Originally of Scottish origin and having a lengthy family military history near the Scottish town of Selkirk, Graham moved to Iqaluit at age 10, and spent 30 of his 67 years in the Royal Canadian Air Force reserve. Like many Canadians, he “was born into the [military] tradition, and it’s something I’ve always held dear.”
The Remembrance Day ceremony will follow the same ritual as observed in Ottawa, with the one difference being that Graham will also deliver remarks in Inuktitut.
Establishing and maintaining the ritual of remembrance year after year is essential in honouring the fallen and sacrifices made during the many international conflicts Canada has been involved in since the First World War, according to Graham, whose grandfather served during the global conflict that took so many lives between 1914-1918.
In a day and age where history sometimes seems on the brink of repeating itself, “that’s what it’s all about — not forgetting,” concludes the Iqaluit Legion president.