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Gander pays its respects

First Remembrance Day ceremony without Second World War veteran hard for family

A chilly morning didn’t prevent a large crowd from gathering at the Gander Heritage Memorial Park to pay their respects on Nov. 11 to those who served their country in battle.

Sunday’s ceremony marked the centennial anniversary of the armistice for the Second World War, which ended fighting between the Allies and Germany.

It was a particularly difficult day for Brad Oake, grandson of the late Rev. Wes Oake, and Jaxon Oake, his great-grandson.

The Second World War veteran passed away earlier this year at the age of 96. Rev. Oake was a fixture at Gander’s Remembrance Day ceremonies, holding prayer and laying wreaths on behalf of fallen comrades.

It was their first Remembrance Day ceremony without him.

Jaxon, now 12 years old, had been laying the wreath with his great-grandfather since he was four.

“It feels a lot different,” he said about not having his great-grandfather with him.

Brad felt the same way.

“He had been a part of this for as long as I can remember,” said the 40-year-old. “This was a big deal for him, so it’s been a tough day.”

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