Veterans remembered in Decoration Day service

By Karena Walter, The Standard

The graves of St. Catharines veterans, row after row after row, are carefully tended to each June. Four thousand new Canadian flags were placed on the graves at Victoria Lawn Cemetery again Saturday by Royal Canadian Legion volunteers and members of the public. “I had my granddaughters out yesterday. They were running up and down to take old ones out and put new ones in,” said Lloyd Cull Sunday, adding the girls know all about veterans through his legion activities and from school Remembrance Day lessons. “They loved it. They want to come back and do it again.” The president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 24 headed up the annual Armed Forces/Decoration Day ceremony Sunday, amid the newly and neatly placed flags. Veterans, dignitaries, legion members and others attended the memorial service which Cull said is a token of appreciation for veterans. “We will not forget their sacrifice,” Cull said at the event, which included a military parade, gun salute and laying of wreaths. The event was particularly poignant for St. Catharines MP Rick Dykstra who was in Bergen-Op-Zoom Netherlands in May for the burial of Lincoln and Welland Regiment member Pte. Albert Laubenstein. Laubenstein was killed at the end of the Second World War but his body was only recently discovered in an unmarked grave. Dykstra told those gathered that the ability to witness the burial of a man who died in the Second World War and really understand the sacrifice meant a lot to him. He said it’s important to continue the Decoration Day ceremony. “This is our responsibility. This is our duty,” he said. Second World War veteran Bill Dunbrack was named reviewing officer for the ceremony and said he was honoured to take the salute in remembrance of all veterans buried there. Dunbrack joined the airforce in 1943, a month before his 18th birthday. He trained and served as a wireless operator and air gunner. The Germans surrendered before he could be sent overseas so he volunteered to go to the Pacific Theatre and was stationed in Comox, B.C. until the end of the war. “I think of the people I knew, friends and acquaintances, who went overseas and never returned,” said Dunbrack after the ceremony. “I’m fortunate to be here.”


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