Paris remembers

Community Nov 13, 2017 by Colleen Toms Brant News

At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, hundreds of Paris residents gathered to remember the men and women who bravely served their country, as well as the fallen who never came home.

A clear sky and bright sunshine set the tone for the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Paris cenotaph, where people bundled up against the cold as they stood in solidarity to honour their local veterans.

For many, the day brought thoughts of generations past and those of today who fought for Canada or served in peacekeeping missions.

For Marieca Franklin, the day brought back painful, yet proud memories of her son Cpl. Reagan Franklin, who served for the military and was accidentally killed while on base. He was 26.

“I laid a wreath for my son,” Franklin said. “He died as an accident while he was serving in Cold Lake, Alta., in 1988.

Reagan was an aero-engine technician. Franklin’s oldest son, Michael, made a career out of serving in the army.

“I’m so proud of both my boys,” Franklin said.

Both of Franklin’s sons participated in peacekeeping missions, with Reagan stationed in Egypt and Michael in Cyprus.

Franklin attended the service with her brother, Joe Gibbons, who laid a wreath for their brother, Alfie Gibbons.

Alfie served with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry in the Second World War and went missing in action at Dieppe.

“They never found him,” Gibbons said. “Our mother was a Silver Cross Mother.”

Their mother was haunted by the fact that she never knew what happened to her son.

“The Red Cross were trying to find out if he was taken prisoner,” but they never turned up any information on Alfie, Franklin said.

“He was 15 years older than me,” she added. “I remember going to watch his parades in Hamilton and going to Camp Borden to see him when there was just a bunch of tents on platforms.”

Another brother, Harold, was a tail runner in a Lancaster bomber, while yet another brother served in the navy during peacetime.

The Gibbons family was a dedicated military family. Their father’s identical twin lost his life in war and their father lost a leg in battle at Vimy Ridge.

“My oldest boy went in when he was 17. We had to sign for him to get in,” Franklin said. “Actually, all these years later, he said, ‘I want to thank you and dad for signing for me to go in.’”

Michael ended up serving as a bodyguard for the NATO commander in Germany prior to retiring. Franklin also did her part by carrying the colours for the legion for 30 years.

With all of the memories they hold and cherish, Remembrance Day has so much meaning for Franklin and Gibbons.

“We’re the last surviving members of our immediate family,” Gibbons said.

Sixty-two-year-old George Barton also came from a military family. His father was a pilot in the Air Force during the Second World War and his mother served as a nurse.

“My father did 35 operations in World War Two as a bomber pilot and mother was a Korean War medevac,” Barton said.

He has attended Remembrance Day services every year since he was a child.

“I grew up in airbases and went through Remembrance Day all over the world,” said Barton, who recently retired as a pilot with Air Canada.

His grandfather was also a pilot in the First World War with the Royal Flying Corp. Barton said, like the hundreds of other people who attended Saturday’s service in Paris, he is extremely proud of his family.

“I think it’s absolutely incredible that we have the opportunity to grow up in freedom and we have a clear day today to remember the people who gave us this,” he said. “There’s always hardships when you serve in the military, whether it’s peacetime or war — not only people who are serving in conflict, but those who are at home waiting for them.”

Paris remembers

Hundreds turn out to pay tribute to war vets

Community Nov 13, 2017 by Colleen Toms Brant News

At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, hundreds of Paris residents gathered to remember the men and women who bravely served their country, as well as the fallen who never came home.

A clear sky and bright sunshine set the tone for the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Paris cenotaph, where people bundled up against the cold as they stood in solidarity to honour their local veterans.

For many, the day brought thoughts of generations past and those of today who fought for Canada or served in peacekeeping missions.

For Marieca Franklin, the day brought back painful, yet proud memories of her son Cpl. Reagan Franklin, who served for the military and was accidentally killed while on base. He was 26.

“I laid a wreath for my son,” Franklin said. “He died as an accident while he was serving in Cold Lake, Alta., in 1988.

Reagan was an aero-engine technician. Franklin’s oldest son, Michael, made a career out of serving in the army.

“I’m so proud of both my boys,” Franklin said.

Both of Franklin’s sons participated in peacekeeping missions, with Reagan stationed in Egypt and Michael in Cyprus.

Franklin attended the service with her brother, Joe Gibbons, who laid a wreath for their brother, Alfie Gibbons.

Alfie served with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry in the Second World War and went missing in action at Dieppe.

“They never found him,” Gibbons said. “Our mother was a Silver Cross Mother.”

Their mother was haunted by the fact that she never knew what happened to her son.

“The Red Cross were trying to find out if he was taken prisoner,” but they never turned up any information on Alfie, Franklin said.

“He was 15 years older than me,” she added. “I remember going to watch his parades in Hamilton and going to Camp Borden to see him when there was just a bunch of tents on platforms.”

Another brother, Harold, was a tail runner in a Lancaster bomber, while yet another brother served in the navy during peacetime.

The Gibbons family was a dedicated military family. Their father’s identical twin lost his life in war and their father lost a leg in battle at Vimy Ridge.

“My oldest boy went in when he was 17. We had to sign for him to get in,” Franklin said. “Actually, all these years later, he said, ‘I want to thank you and dad for signing for me to go in.’”

Michael ended up serving as a bodyguard for the NATO commander in Germany prior to retiring. Franklin also did her part by carrying the colours for the legion for 30 years.

With all of the memories they hold and cherish, Remembrance Day has so much meaning for Franklin and Gibbons.

“We’re the last surviving members of our immediate family,” Gibbons said.

Sixty-two-year-old George Barton also came from a military family. His father was a pilot in the Air Force during the Second World War and his mother served as a nurse.

“My father did 35 operations in World War Two as a bomber pilot and mother was a Korean War medevac,” Barton said.

He has attended Remembrance Day services every year since he was a child.

“I grew up in airbases and went through Remembrance Day all over the world,” said Barton, who recently retired as a pilot with Air Canada.

His grandfather was also a pilot in the First World War with the Royal Flying Corp. Barton said, like the hundreds of other people who attended Saturday’s service in Paris, he is extremely proud of his family.

“I think it’s absolutely incredible that we have the opportunity to grow up in freedom and we have a clear day today to remember the people who gave us this,” he said. “There’s always hardships when you serve in the military, whether it’s peacetime or war — not only people who are serving in conflict, but those who are at home waiting for them.”

Paris remembers

Hundreds turn out to pay tribute to war vets

Community Nov 13, 2017 by Colleen Toms Brant News

At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, hundreds of Paris residents gathered to remember the men and women who bravely served their country, as well as the fallen who never came home.

A clear sky and bright sunshine set the tone for the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Paris cenotaph, where people bundled up against the cold as they stood in solidarity to honour their local veterans.

For many, the day brought thoughts of generations past and those of today who fought for Canada or served in peacekeeping missions.

For Marieca Franklin, the day brought back painful, yet proud memories of her son Cpl. Reagan Franklin, who served for the military and was accidentally killed while on base. He was 26.

“I laid a wreath for my son,” Franklin said. “He died as an accident while he was serving in Cold Lake, Alta., in 1988.

Reagan was an aero-engine technician. Franklin’s oldest son, Michael, made a career out of serving in the army.

“I’m so proud of both my boys,” Franklin said.

Both of Franklin’s sons participated in peacekeeping missions, with Reagan stationed in Egypt and Michael in Cyprus.

Franklin attended the service with her brother, Joe Gibbons, who laid a wreath for their brother, Alfie Gibbons.

Alfie served with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry in the Second World War and went missing in action at Dieppe.

“They never found him,” Gibbons said. “Our mother was a Silver Cross Mother.”

Their mother was haunted by the fact that she never knew what happened to her son.

“The Red Cross were trying to find out if he was taken prisoner,” but they never turned up any information on Alfie, Franklin said.

“He was 15 years older than me,” she added. “I remember going to watch his parades in Hamilton and going to Camp Borden to see him when there was just a bunch of tents on platforms.”

Another brother, Harold, was a tail runner in a Lancaster bomber, while yet another brother served in the navy during peacetime.

The Gibbons family was a dedicated military family. Their father’s identical twin lost his life in war and their father lost a leg in battle at Vimy Ridge.

“My oldest boy went in when he was 17. We had to sign for him to get in,” Franklin said. “Actually, all these years later, he said, ‘I want to thank you and dad for signing for me to go in.’”

Michael ended up serving as a bodyguard for the NATO commander in Germany prior to retiring. Franklin also did her part by carrying the colours for the legion for 30 years.

With all of the memories they hold and cherish, Remembrance Day has so much meaning for Franklin and Gibbons.

“We’re the last surviving members of our immediate family,” Gibbons said.

Sixty-two-year-old George Barton also came from a military family. His father was a pilot in the Air Force during the Second World War and his mother served as a nurse.

“My father did 35 operations in World War Two as a bomber pilot and mother was a Korean War medevac,” Barton said.

He has attended Remembrance Day services every year since he was a child.

“I grew up in airbases and went through Remembrance Day all over the world,” said Barton, who recently retired as a pilot with Air Canada.

His grandfather was also a pilot in the First World War with the Royal Flying Corp. Barton said, like the hundreds of other people who attended Saturday’s service in Paris, he is extremely proud of his family.

“I think it’s absolutely incredible that we have the opportunity to grow up in freedom and we have a clear day today to remember the people who gave us this,” he said. “There’s always hardships when you serve in the military, whether it’s peacetime or war — not only people who are serving in conflict, but those who are at home waiting for them.”