We have been so busy and it is way past time to update our blog. November 11 was Remembrance Day in Canada. It is the three day school and government holiday for November. For some people it is a day for the family to get away. But there were also people who were celebrating Remembrance Day. Every Community had a Cenotaph. We enjoyed seeing how Armistice Day is observed in Canada. In the United States it is called Veteran’s Day and has parades, poppies and memorial services. School doesn’t typically get out, but there are assemblies in most schools where Veterans are assembled and honored by the student bodies. And in both Canada and the United States, it marks the 11th month, 11th day and 11th hour that ended World War II.
The word cenotaph is derived from the Greek kenos taphos, meaning "empty tomb." A cenotaph is a monument, sometimes in the form of a tomb, to a person or group of persons buried elsewhere. Ancient Greek writings tell of many cenotaphs, although none of them survives. Existing cenotaphs of this type are found in churches (for example, in Santa Croce in Florence, where there are memorials to Dante, Machiavelli, and Galileo). The term is now applied to national war memorials.
For the missionaries, November 11, was a zone conference. Some of our zone came to Grande Prairie the night before because of the distance. Those companionships who are 1 to 1.5 hours away came in the morning. We all met at the church and carpooled to the hockey arena for a Cenotaph.
We all had been wearing our poppies since November 1.
All 22 of us went to the top of the arena.
It is not a huge arena, bleachers seat just under 3,000. The ice was covered with plywood and by the end of the ceremony the floor was frosty. The room was cold. Cold air blasted the whole time from all the vents.
These two military men came in first and maintained this pose for the whole program, 1 3/4 hours.
They didn't move at all.
The floor filled with processions entering to the pipes and drums.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) was impressive.
The two groups in front, closest are the Canadian Beavers, Cub Scouts and Scouts.
The front groups farthest are the Canadian Brownies and Girl Guides.
The Grande Prairie Boys Choir sang Oh Canada, and that was followed by 2 minutes of silence at 11:00 A.M.
There were welcomes and prayers and someone recited Flander's Field. (It was written by a Canadian Army doctor.)
There were special musical numbers from the choir. There were 43 separate departments, groups, and organizations who were escorted by cadets with pomp and ceremony to lay their wreath on the Cenotaph. At the end about 15 families brought wreaths to be laid on
This is the last family placing their wreath. The entire congregation sang How Great Thou Art at the end. Then attendees could place their poppy on the Cenotaph.
Attending the Remembrance Day Memorial with the Grande Prairie Zone was such a great experience. We all grabbed a bite to eat and met at the church. President and Sister Pattison drove from Edmonton and met us at 1:00 when we started the Zone Conference. The Zone Leaders and the Sister Training Leaders gave us good training. It was good to connect with Sister Pattison again. We hadn't seen her since we arrived on July 11, at her home.
President Pattison interviewed the 20 Elders and Sisters the rest of the afternoon and evening. We met with Pattisons at their hotel at 7am Saturday and had breakfast with them. They both enjoyed hearing about our missionary experiences so far. Next time they come, they want to meet the Dude.
I am thankful to those who have served their country in foreign wars to maintain peace and security at home. I am thankful to those who gave their lives and for their families. I am thankful to be serving a mission in the Canada Edmonton Mission. We are having some really great experiences. A 76 year old man walked up the stairs to the top of the arena, sat on the step next to me and we talked for 15 minutes before he returned to sit with the group of veterans down on the floor. I am thankful for the letters and prayers from our family and friends to support and encourage us. We love and appreciate all of you. Jon, we are praying for the job to be your job.
Love, Mom, Grandma, Sister Brown and Robyn