Our Community – Citizens rally to preserve Brantwood Gates Tradition

Community volunteers continued the long tradition of the Remembrance ceremony at the Brantwood Gates. From left: Jim Strang, Georges Winters, Renée Lavoie, Andrea Jun, Avra Gibbs Lamey, Daniel Jun, Michel Duhamel, Christine Duhamel, Colonel Edward Jun and Kathleen Holloway Jun. Photo by John Dance

Community volunteers continued the long tradition of the Remembrance ceremony at the Brantwood Gates. From left: Jim Strang, Georges Winters, Renée Lavoie, Andrea Jun, Avra Gibbs Lamey, Daniel Jun, Michel Duhamel, Christine Duhamel, Colonel Edward Jun and Kathleen Holloway Jun. Photo by John Dance

John Dance

The important and longstanding tradition of honouring Canadian veterans at Old Ottawa East’s Brantwood Gates has continued this year thanks to the efforts of many community members, several Royal Canadian Legion members, and our elected officials rallying at the last moment to make it happen.

Every year on the Sunday morning before November 11, the Strathcona Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion organized the Remembrance Day event. But this year, with the dissolution of the Branch and other circumstances, the Legion was unable to stage the memorial.

The community learned of the situation about a week before the event would normally have been held through a posting on the OOE Grapevine Facebook site. Jessica Jepp of Kings Landing read the post and decided that the tradition had to be continued, so she promptly recruited community volunteers to make it happen. The entire family of Lieutenant Colonel Edward Jun and his wife Kathleen Holloway Jun participated, with their daughter Andrea reciting the Commitment to Remember, and their son Daniel laying one of the wreaths.

Avra Gibbs Lamey opened the service by noting, “Today’s ceremony was organized by a group of dedicated neighbours, who wished to see the tradition of a community gathering at the Brantwood Gates continue. We ask for your patience and understanding as we come together for a brief time to honour those who have made personal sacrifices on behalf of Canada.”

But no patience was required: all went flawlessly, complete with trumpeter Renée Lavoie playing hauntingly beautiful and stirring renditions of the Last Post and Reveille. “In Flanders Fields” was recited by Canadian Forces Veteran Colonel Retired Michel Duhamel. Georges Winters, the Legion member who lived for many years in Old Ottawa East and who had organized the event for almost two decades, and his wife Katherine and fellow Legionnaire Ron Oakley, prepared the site the day before.

Federal MP Yasir Naqvi, Provincial MPP Joel Harden, and Councillor Shawn Menard all laid wreaths at the end of the service. On very short notice, Councillor Menard arranged for the Ottawa Police Services and City staff to detour traffic, a measure that contributed to the solemnity of the event and allowed space for the crowd of about 70 people to gather in front of the Gates.

A number of other community members also helped make the event happen. Nick Masciantonio provided an excellent sound system and a speaker’s podium. As he always does, nearby neighbour Bernie Teklenburg provided an extension cord with electricity. Linda Pollock found the trumpeter and the Old Ottawa East Community Association (OOECA) provided funding for the various expenses. OOECA has offered to help the Legion organize the event in future years and, if the Legion is unable to take the lead, OOECA has volunteered to do so.

Filed in: Community Links, Front Page

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