Winkler observes Remembrance

Boots were placed for each name Carol Enns read off the Honour Roll.

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A Remembrance Day Service was held in Winkler Nov. 11. Attendees observed a moment of silence, responded to the act of remembrance and watched as wreaths were laid.
Carol Enns read the honour roll while youth connected to the veterans whose names were read, laid an empty pair of boots in front on of the lectern.
Phillip Vallelly was this year’s guest speaker and she spoke about the act of remembrance.
“What we do here today is we remember those people, those veterans, those who have fallen, those who are still very much alive and continue to serve,” he said. “I can’t help but think over the last 100 years, how many services have we held, how many times have people gathered just for that moment of silence to remember, to remember the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, that moment when we say, we will remember.”
Vallelly asked the audience what they think about in that moment of silence.
“In that moment of silence are we stopping to honour those who’ve actually given their lives and whose headstones around the world serve as a reminder, that what we have today is because of what they gave?,” he asked.
He talked about Pte. Thomas Welch, who was deployed to Afghanistan in August, 2003. He served in the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment and was described as a caring man, sensitive to the needs of others.
“He struggled with what he saw,” Vallelly said. “Specifically the conditions of women and children in Afghanistan…”
In his communications home he would ask that candy be sent to him. “He wanted to give the boys and girls in Afghanistan, something to look forward too,” he said.
When Pte. Welch came home, his parents noticed changes.
“His family described his mental health as deteriorating to the point where everything was arduous, it was painful, and it brought up an incredible amount of anger in a young man who never expressed anger before,” he said.
On May 8, 2004, he ended his life becoming the first suicide of a Canadian soldier after returning from the Afghanistan mission.
“He did not die in combat, but yet he came home and he lived with a whole new form of silence that eventually led to his death,” Vallelly said. “He died as a result of the silence he endured as a result of serving our country.”
Pte. Thomas Welch’s mother received this year’s National Silver Cross.
Vallelly said it’s important to think of all the veterans impacted by war. “Those that we remember didn’t necessarily die on the battlefield,” he said. “Think about the young men and women who are living today, who are living with this level of silence and mental turmoil the like of which Pte. Thomas Welch endured.”

Remembrance Day was celebrated in Winkler.

Bev Hamm

Jake Friesen

Destiny Dyck presented “In Flanders Fields”.

Boots were placed as Carol Enns read the Honour Roll.

Parade Commander Maj. Mark Wilson, Royal Canadian Artillery.

Guest speaker Phillip Vallelly.

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