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Large crowds show their gratitude to veterans during local Remembrance Day services

More than 3,000 attended Truro's Remembrance Day service at the Cenotaph on Sunday. Always a touching part of the gathering is the laying of wreaths. Gary Higgins, district commander of the Nova Scotia Nunavut Command, left, placed a wreath with the help of Cpl. Dimitri Julian of the 2928 Royal Canadian Army Cadets. Monique Chiasson - Truro Daily News

TRURO - William Stewart couldn't help but get choked up when a little girl quietly approached him with a thank you card.

The Truro resident, a veteran of the Second World War, was one of an estimated 3,500 people who attended the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Truro Cenotaph on Sunday.

"I remember my comrades ... it's always, always on my mind," said Stewart, 87, shortly after thanking the child for her act of kindness.

The Truro service, under sunny skies, united young and old in remembering and honouring those who served Canada in war. Some of the older veterans seated near the Cenotaph were given Canadian Red Cross blankets to keep them warm. A few shed the occasional tear and many revisited war horror stories that they kept to themselves as wreaths were laid and music by the Truro Concert Band, Legion Lyrics and First Baptist Girls' Choir filled the area.

For Hilden's Arden Wheadon, 87, looking around at the huge crowd offered him some comfort.

"I started out years ago in a colour party and crowds for Remembrance Day have gotten larger and larger and larger," Wheadon, a Second World War veteran, said.

"I'm proud to know word is getting around about how important it is to remember ... today I thought about the friends I miss and those we lost."

Truro's Jill Smit was also thinking about lost loved ones. Her father, Ken Scott, was a D-Day veteran with the Queen's Own Rifles. He died in 2009 and up until then was diligent to attend Remembrance Day services, laying a wreath for those who served.

"I am happy to do it now in his memory," said Smit shortly after placing a wreath at the Cenotaph in memory of her father.

"I feel a little sad and little proud too. And I'm very proud of Truro's turnout for this. It says we are grateful and we remember."

Smit said there are simple things people can do throughout the year to keep the spirit of Remembrance Day alive.

"Every time I walk past a Cenotaph I take a minute to think and I'll often think of families I know who have lost children. It must be hard especially in this day and age when we don't think our country being at war."

Even the younger generation was focused on the relevance of Nov. 11. Ten-year-old Brylee Yorke of Truro was pleased to be at the ceremony with her parents.

"My dad is a veteran ... and it's important to show respect for veterans. I'm lucky that he's alive," said the youngster, who also admitted she recently cried during the reading of a veteran's poem in her Grade 4 class at Truro Elementary School.

Brylee's dad, Brian, served in the navy for more than 12 years. After an injury to his foot, he retired.

"I've lost friends in Afghanistan and my great-uncle died on Normandy Beach. He didn't make it off the beach ... my whole family has served in some way or another," said Brian.

Brian believes Remembrance Day is the most important holiday of the year.

"If we didn't have it, we wouldn't have any others. I think Remembrance Day means more than ever before because of Afghanistan," Yorke said.

mchiasson@trurodaily.com

Organizations: Queen's, Truro Elementary School

Geographic location: Canada, Afghanistan, Normandy Beach

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