Decorating Day remembers some of Canada’s forgotten fallen

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The Color Party of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 24 marches down Queenston Street on Sunday as part of the Legion’s Honor Day service at Victoria Lawn Cemetery.

When honoring the men and women who have served their country, most Canadians look to Remembrance Day every November 11th.

But it has not always been so.

“Canadians had a different memorial called Decoration Day, in which we commemorate our war dead with the laying of real flowers, not in the desperate gloom of November, but in the warm light and optimism of the end spring and early summer,” Graham said. Noseworthy, President of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 24 (HT Church Branch) in St. Catharines. The legion held a Decorating Day service on Sunday at Victoria Lawn Cemetery. The day is also celebrated as Canadian Armed Forces Day in Canada.

June 2 was chosen in honor of a conflict that many believe accelerated the road to Confederacy — the Battle of Ridgeway — which took place on June 2, 1866. It was there that a group of ‘Irish Americans, known as the Fenians, were repulsed by Canadian forces.

Later the tradition moved to honor those who died in the North West Rebellion of 1885, the South African War of 1899 and 1902 and the First World War.

“Nine soldiers were killed in action, including three university students from Toronto,” Noseworthy said. “They were volunteer riflemen snatched from their final exams the day before and thrown into battle against the Irish American insurgents who invaded Canada across the Niagara River near Fort Erie.”

While Decorating Day is still marked in some Niagara towns, including Fort Erie, where the Ridgeway Legion places Canadian flags at veterans’ graves, it lags behind Memorial Day in spirit. of most.

“This is the second most important day on the calendar after Remembrance Day,” said Ron Chassie, who served as parade commissioner for the Sunday service.

He said attendance at the service was down.

“It’s getting smaller,” he said. “You don’t see a lot of young people.”

Noseworthy, meanwhile, said that when Remembrance Day was established in 1931, the Battle of Ridgeway was largely forgotten.

“Let’s all take one more day to remember that warm, sunny day in June. Let’s make the records come alive – on the day of the declaration – and place a living flower on the soldier’s grave and tenderly embrace the veteran and thank him for these sacrifices for our freedom and prosperity that have defined our great nation. An extra day. Surely that’s not too much to ask.


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