The people of Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador, mark Remembrance Day in a way different from many other parts of Canada. East of town, along the Trans-Canada Highway, there are a pair of spots that have special significance for the area.
The first is a Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery. Found there are the graves of over 100 airmen from the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada who died in the area during the Second World War. Most of those deaths were the result of plane crashes in the vicinity of Gander airport (CYQX), a major staging area for trans-Atlantic flights during the war.
A short distance away is a memorial to the 248 American troops and the eight aircrew members who were accompanying them when their chartered Arrow Air McDonnell Douglas DC-8 crashed on takeoff on December 12, 1985 on the final leg of a flight home from a peacekeeping mission in the Sinai Peninsula. The memorial is named The Silent Witness.
The two-kilometre stretch of highway where both of these sites are located will be named Remembrance Way at a ceremony on Remembrance Day, November 11.
“Along this very short stretch of highway are two very prominent reminders of the sacrifices made by servicepeople around the world,” Gander’s mayor Percy Farwell said in advance of the ceremony. “With the signage, it’s a reminder every day of that sacrifice,” he added.
Lest we forget.
Top photo credit: Canada Aviation and Space Museum