London’s Remembrance Day Ceremony | CTV News

For the first time in three years, London’s Remembrance Day ceremony was open to the public without COVID-19 restrictions.

On Friday, the Remembrance Day ceremony was held at the City of London Cenotaph in Victoria Park.

Thousands made their way downtown to pay tribute to those who served and continue to serve our country.

This day is personal for many who attended, like Peter McGillicuddy.

“I’m just here to show respect and honour for my family members who fought in World War I and II,” he said.

On Friday, he watched the ceremony while holding a sign with all of his family members’ names who served.

“It’s an important day for all of us,” he said.

A long-awaited parade allowed for dozens of veterans, RCMP officers and London police officers to march through the streets before the ceremony began.

One by one, veterans, family members and local leaders laid wreaths for soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice, including Mark Wilson, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2006. His mother Carolyn is London’s Silver Cross mother.

A veteran of the Second World War, Tom Hennessy caught the eye of many during the ceremony. Hennessy was a Spitfire fighter pilot from 1941 to 1945.

Tom Hennessy is seen in uniform during the Second World War in this undated image. (Submitted)

On Remembrance Day, he laid a wreath for all veterans.

“It’s been unbelievable,” said Hennessy. Not expecting an applause when he walked to lay the wreath, Hennessy said, “This country is something else.”

Earlier this year, the 100-year-old veteran completed a 100 mile walk to raise money for homeless veterans. His campaign surpassed $25,000.

“People are laying down their lives, coming back and they’re wounded and some are homeless… So I said, ‘I could do something, I could do a walk’ and that’s how it started,” he said.

Bruce Stock, a veteran and Royal Canadian Legion member, helped Tom with the 100 mile walk.

“What we’ve had today is an unforgettable Remembrance Day,” said Stock.

Hennessy’s wife Joyce said this day is both personal and emotional for them every year.

“So I know to be right there with the Kleenex box, and we talk and we cry and we talk so for us I think it’s…he’s here and alive. He made it,” she said.

Canada’s NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh laid the final wreath of the ceremony.

Singh told CTV News London that he has a connection to the city, as he previously lived in London for a number of years and attended Western University.

“I feel like it’s so important to remember the lives lost and to honour the veterans, to hear from them and their concerns and talk about how we can do a better job taking care of them,” said Singh.

One of this year’s wreaths honours the late Queen Elizabeth II who was a veteran, serving as a military truck driver and mechanic in World War II.

Once the ceremony came to an end, members of the public laid their poppies down on the cenotaph at Victoria Park.

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