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It has taken nothing less than a pandemic to force the Town to call off its Remembrance Day ceremony this year. Every other fall, the duty of remembrance brings us to Peace Park, in front of Town Hall. There, around the cenotaph erected at its centre, wreaths and other marks of respect are laid by attendees who have assembled in homage to the Armistice.

This year, the pandemic means our reflections on war and its lessons, victims and heroes will have to take place in private.

Yet we can still take a moment and visit Peace Park, if only in our thoughts.

Raise your eyes and contemplate the cenotaph. It was built in tribute to our soldiers who were lost in combat, to commemorate the 45 Townies who fell on the battlefields of World War II. Some are known to have died; others are deemed to be missing in action. Their names are engraved on a bronze plaque near the main entrance to Town Hall. We keep alive the memory of they who could not be saved.

Wars, when they start, are said to be declared and, when they finish, to end. But delimiting wars in time like this hides the bigger picture. War is a tragedy that forever changes the lives of families and communities. Its repercussions are serious and continue to be felt in countries long after the official end of the conflict.

Today, despite the many decades that have passed, our thoughts are with all who lost loved ones on the battlefields of the first world war as well as the second. We join them in mourning, as theirs is also a loss for the entire community. And to our soldiers currently serving on the front lines, once and future witnesses to so many atrocities, I salute your courage.

Because we must never forget: war continues to happen. It’s just that new technologies have led to a change in tactics. Even today, Canadians are lending assistance, as Canadians do so well, in distant, war-ravaged lands. Our military personnel – women and men of valour – are abroad, defending the same values, instilling the same ideals of peace and liberty. War may have changed but our aspirations remain the same.

On this Remembrance Day 2020, as on so many other occasions this year, we find ourselves scattered, separated and isolated. But I still like to think we are united in thought this November 11. On behalf of Town of Mount Royal and its residents, I thank once again all who have paid with their lives and ensured our presence on the field of honour.

On Remembrance Day, this year like every other, we pay tribute to their memory.

Philippe Roy

Mayor

90 Roosevelt Avenue

Mont-Royal H3R 1Z5