Reverence and Remembrance

On Saturday, November 11th, 2023, crowds of thousands lined the streets surrounding the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa, in temperatures just above zero, to honour those who have bravely served our country in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Also present were the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General, and the Silver Cross Mother: Mrs. Gloria Hooper. There were also many members of the military and cadets, and a large representation of the RCMP. A number of veterans from some of Canada’s largest military deployments were in attendance as well: veterans of both the Korean and Second World Wars.

The Ottawa Children’s Choir provided a beautiful soundtrack to the ceremony. Wreaths were laid by senior politicians, community groups, and others. Arguably the most moving was the laying of the wreath by Mrs. Gloria Hooper, this year’s Silver Cross Mother.

Officially called The Memorial Cross, the Silver Cross is a memento presented to the mother of a Canadian solider, sailor, or aviator who died serving their country. The recipient is selected by the Legion from nominations, and serves a year term, beginning on November 1st. One of the official duties of the Silver Cross Mother is to lay a wreath at the National War Memorial on Remembrance Day on behalf of all Canadian mothers who have lost a son or daughter during their military service of Canada.

Gloria Hooper typically lays a wreath in Portage la Prairie, where she has done so for over twenty years. Her son, Sapper Chris Holopina, was a Combat Engineer in the Canadian Army. He was killed on July 4th, 1996, at just 22 years old, in a vehicle accident in Bosnia while on duty as part of Operation Alliance. The vehicle accident took place while Chris and his comrades were trying to rescue a group of British soldiers in a minefield. He was a thoughtful, kind young man, who while in Bosnia, organized a toy and clothing drive for the children there who had nothing.

It was an emotional experience to witness Mrs. Hooper laying a wreath in remembrance of her son and all other Canadians who have lost their lives while serving. But it served as an important reminder of the cost of freedom, and those who paid the ultimate price to guarantee that for all Canadians.

The ceremony ended with the military parade out, which included several veterans. The Prime Minister, the Governor General, and the Silver Cross Mother stood reverently alongside the road as they passed, in silent gratitude and remembrance.

We at Covert Ottawa Guy would like to express our profound gratitude to all of those who have served in Canada’s Armed Forces, and those who currently serve. We acknowledge the sacrifices that they made and continue to make in order to preserve our freedoms. Lest we forget.

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