MNO Senator and Veteran Continue a Vital Tradition
November 11, 2012
Every year on November 11, Métis from across the homeland participate in Remembrance Day Ceremonies. Being part of these ceremonies is very important to Métis because we have contributed to the defense of Canada as far back as the War of 1812 as well as both World Wars, the Korean Conflict, peacekeeping missions and most recently, Afghanistan. Over the years, many Métis have served and many have made the ultimate sacrifice. By making the Métis presence felt at Remembrance Day services, we show our respect for all Veterans and we remind all Canadians of Métis service and sacrifices.
Since 2004, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) has laid a wreath at the National Cenotaph in Ottawa during National Remembrance Day ceremonies. The wreath is laid each year by MNO Executive Senator Reta Gordon and Métis Veteran Shaun Redmond. Senator Reta and Shaun have performed this important gesture on behalf of the MNO in good weather and bad because it is very meaningful on a personal level for both of them, and because it is important to recognize our many Métis Veterans who gave and continue to give so much in securing and sustaining the rights and freedoms that we all enjoy.
Shaun enlisted in the Canadian Army in 1971 and rose to the rank of Lieutenant prior to joining the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1980. Although retired, he still serves as a Captain in the Reserves and trains cadets. “My father’s brother was killed action in Italy during World War II,” explained Shaun, “and it [laying the wreath] is a way to remember him.”
Each year following protocol, Shaun, as a veteran, presents the MNO wreath to Senator Reta who then lays the wreath on the cenotaph. Senator Reta’s father and her nine uncles all participated in World War II. Then later in the 1950s, her four brothers also served in the military and one of her brothers, Senator George Kelly, even participated in the national Remembrance Day ceremonies this year. “It is good to let everyone know the Métis are here and that we support Remembrance Day,” explained Senator Reta.
This year Senator Reta and Shaun also participated in a ceremony at the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument prior to the National Remembrance Day Ceremony. The National Aboriginal Veterans Monument is located a short distance away from the National Cenotaph and is an important symbol of the contributions of Métis and other Aboriginal veterans to Canada. MNO citizens, like Senator Reta and Shaun, who participate in Remembrance Day events are continuing to keep an important tradition vital and alive.