By Jollena Tylor
Photos by Jeanette Meursing
Thanks go to Point Roberts fire chief Chris Carleton, Richard Foreman, fire commissioner Bill Meursing, Bruce Harford, Ron Swalling and Esther Rosenthal for the ‘International Remembrance Day Ceremony’ held November 11 at the Benson Road fire hall. With over 80 people in attendance, it was standing room only.
The ceremony opened strongly with the singing of both Canadian and American anthems. Among the guests were veterans from WWII forward. They shared their stories and those of their relatives serving through a long list of wars, including one 19-year-old deploying soon to Afghanistan.
Ron Swalling spoke of soldiers’ physical experiences and mental scarring. He mentioned returning military fathers and husbands who would never speak of war. That touched me because I have friends who served in the Korean War and are still affected by their experiences. He described the extremes of treatment displayed toward returning Viet Nam soldiers as compared to military personnel now being respected for serving their country.
B.C. Ambulance Service district superintendent Bruce Harford spoke of the first international ambulance service project born years ago right here in Point Roberts. The service is now offered along the entire Canadian/US border. It is an example of what two countries can create when we care enough to work together. Chief Carleton thanked everyone who serves their community, country and the world as a whole.
During a minute of silence, we honored our loved ones who served. Many of us wiped away tears when Esther Rosenthal played the Taps at the closing of the ceremony.