It was an emotional morning in downtown London, as local veterans and current military members gathered for Remembrance Day ceremonies.
Hundreds took in the ceremony in Victoria Park at the Cenotaph at the corner of Wellington and Dufferin, including Sgt. Chuck Morazzo who was involved in peacekeeping and moved into operational with the Persian Gulf War in Somalia and Rwanda.
“I did go through PTSD coming out of Somalia and Rwanda back to back with General Dallaire. It’s hard at time. I’m still losing friends to it; that’s the hardest thing, losing my brothers and sisters to suicide,” Morazzo began.
Despite his experiences, he tells AM980 he’d do it again.
“No questions, nothing about it. I’d be right there in a heartbeat,” he stated, before thanking Londoners for taking part in the ceremony.
“It was very moving. I’m grateful for London. It was such a beautiful parade out there today. Just the support shown, that’s what makes it worth it too.”
Sgt. Ron Monroe was also on hand for Friday’s ceremonies. He said he joined the military in January of 1955 at the age of 17 with a Grade 7 education when he couldn’t find a decent job.
“First of all I had my training in Petawawa, you name it we had to do it,” he tells AM980.
“I ended up in 1955 at the Toronto Exhibition at the Tri-Service Drill Squad. I was with the Canadian Guards at the time which is a disbanded regiment right now. In 1957 I went to Germany, came back from Germany, I was part of the occupational force in Germany. I think Germany got their occupation back, credibility back around 1959. I was part of the ’57-’59. I came back in ’59, I got married and got two kids. We both, we all ended up back in Germany in 1965 I think it was. We ended up back in Germany for 2 years.”
Sgt. Monroe also spent 5 years on Parliament Hill with the changing of the guard.
Royal Canadian Navy Lieutenant Commander Glen Wolfrey attended Friday’s ceremonies just a week after visiting Vimy Ridge in France.
“It’s very moving,” he tells AM980, “they give dedication to both sides at Vimy Ridge. There’s small trenches there that they show both the British Army and Canadian Army, but also on the German side of how close those were on the trenches and the respect that they have for both sides. I was so moved by that aspect.”
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people gathered at the National War Memorial for the annual Remembrance Day service in Ottawa.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Governor General David Johnston were among those on hand for the solemn ceremony.
Silver Cross Mother, Colleen Fitzpatrick of Prince George, B.C., placed a wreath on behalf of all bereaved mothers. Her son died in Afghanistan in 2010.
With files from Mike Stubbs.