There was much fanfare across the pond a few weeks ago over the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, and rightly so… various memorial services were well-documented and I kept seeing photos and accounts of them online. Of course, this made me wish I could be back in England to take part in them and mark this special occasion in the place where it happened! But my city of Barrie, although small and relatively unconnected to events of the Battle of Britain, marked the anniversary with a parade which I was only too glad to attend.
A pipe band opened the parade– I used to be terrified of bagpipes when I was little, but they are such a part of military tradition!
On the negative side, the parade was poorly advertised and there was a small turnout. Still, main street was shut for the parade and there were some members of the public in attendance. Plus the weather was beautiful!
I was happy to see some veterans in the parade. Nowadays these are the few
Since the crowds were sparse, I was able to stand right near the road and I had a good few of everything. First came the pipe band, then veterans, then serving members of the Canadian Forces, and then cadets. It was encouraging to see so many successors of those brave young men who defended the skies over Britain in 1940.
The Canadian flag passes in front of RCAF members at attention
During the parade there were two minutes of silence, a laying of wreaths, and a singing of anthems– it was fitting indeed that we sang both O Canada and God Save the Queen. Although I got the feeling that my London-born father and I were the only ones present who were actually singing the latter!
A view of the parade’s closing moments
Barrie’s war memorial, which served as the epicentre of the event
Remembrance Day is still a month away, but this parade day felt similarly sombre and reverent. And even though Barrie is about twenty minutes away from a very historic military base, there aren’t a lot of military events around here– that made this one all the more special. It was wonderful to see the Battle of Britain commemorated; a battle which occurred so far away and so long ago!
A veteran stands near the wreaths and memorial honouring his fallen comrades
When this memorial was built, Barrie was only a town; but although it’s grown and changed, the city of Barrie still remembers the sacrifices of long ago.