For every day in 2008, I did something new. In 2016, I am challenging myself to break my routine at least once a week.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Remembrance Day is not a statutory holiday here in Ontario, so I usually have to work. Not this year, however, so I decided to head downtown to take part in the national ceremony.
I got there around 9:15. People were starting to accumulate, but it was not terribly busy yet. Note the lack of people by the Parliament Buildings. I ended up right by the barricade on the east side of the cenotaph.
It was a beautiful, sunny day. I chatted with the people on either side of me.
There was some discussion about the Canadian flag with the blue stripes on it. (I googled it after I got home.)
As time went on, people started to gather behind us, as well as on the lawn at the Parliament Buildings.
Around 10:30, the dignitaries started to arrive. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was the first to arrive (or at least the first to be announced). Shortly after that, the Silver Cross Mother arrived. (The Silver Cross Mother is the mother of a soldier killed in action.)
After that, there was a looonnng wait. Finally, the Governor General arrived, followed shortly by Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla. I was standing right where I could see the cars go by. I was a little confused by the Governor General - I wasn't expecting her to be wearing a military uniform. Prince Charles was the easiest to spot in the cars - in part because he had the window open.
Just before 11, the ceremony started with O Canada. There was 2 minutes of silence, as well as prayers, songs, poems, a 21-gun salute, and the laying of dozens of wreaths.
This picture is looking back from where I was standing at the barricade towards a giant TV screen showing what was going on in front of the cenotaph. Around 12, the veterans started to parade out, followed by current members of the military, cadets, and RCMP officers. (They immediately followed by paramedics, but that wasn't part of the official list.)
As the parade ended, someone behind me in the crowd collapsed. The people immediately around him (including some current members of the military) started first aid, and I asked the cop on the other side of the barricade to get the paramedics. A couple of other police officers came over and managed to get the fence open while someone located the paramedics.
By that time, everything was over so I escaped through the opening in the fence to give them more room to work. (I was pretty cold, and my feet were getting numb.)
This is the cenotaph from the front.
Walking back to the bus, I took a few more pictures. Ottawa is really a beautiful ciy. From the Mackenzie King Bridge, looking back towards the cenotaph. If you look closely, you can see the people still crowded around. I was still cold when I got home, so I took a bubble bath. I did warm up but it took a while.
(On the anti-procrastination front, I did some more desk organizing.)