JOGGINS, N.S. – Angela Reid has a poignant reminder for Canadians as they stopped on Remembrance Day to remember those who have their lives in both war and peace during the last century.
She should know.
Her son, Cpl. Christopher Reid, was killed in Afghanistan in August 2006 when his armoured vehicle struck a roadside improvised explosive device. The 34-year-old Truro man was a member of the Edmonton-based Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry.
“If you don’t remember your past, your past is likely to be repeated,” Reid said after speaking to the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Joggins branch of the Royal Canadian Legion on Sunday. “I’m always proud to talk about Christopher and the successes of the Princess Patricias Canadian Light Infantry and I'm proud to be part of the HOPE group that talks to families who’ve lost family members to PTSD or natural death.”
HOPE, which stands for helping other peers by providing empathy, that aims to help others going through the pain of losing a loved one. Through her work, she was given a Commander’s Commendation by the military in 2014.
Reid, who was joined by her husband, Tom, laid a wreath during the Joggins’ service as a Silver Cross parent. She spoke about her son, his childhood, his love for his late sister and his service to his country.
Also present was Joggins’ final Second World War veteran David Coleman, who served with the RCAF and flew on a Lancaster bomber in missions over northwest Europe.
Coleman, who is 93, laid a wreath during the service at St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church.
“I’m honoured to still be here,” said Coleman, who grew up in Joggins and now lives in Amherst. He was joined by many family members for the ceremony. “I often think of the others who I served with, especially my classmates that I knew well.”
He said there were four of 11 classmates from his school in Joggins that didn’t return from the war.
“I find myself thinking of them often, particularly on Nov. 11,” Coleman said.
Legion president Doug Legere said the branch planned to rededicate the community’s cenotaph that was renovated this past summer and saw the names of 10 men killed during the First World War added to the monument.
The men were inadvertently left off the monument when it was first erected because their names were not on any of the local churches’ honour rolls.
Strong winds off the Bay of Fundy prevented the cenotaph service and moved it inside the church. It also postponed the rededication. Reid said it will take place in the spring.
The branch did thank those who contributed in any way to the project, including the Gray family and Gray Concrete Foundations, as well as Veterans Affairs Canada, the province and the Municipality of Cumberland.