November 11, 2012
BY: NICOLA MACLEOD
A veteran was taken to hospital after collapsing during Charlottetown’s Remembrance Day ceremonies.
The man was a member of the flag carrying Colour Party during this morning’s ceremony. He has not been identified and his condition remains unknown.
The Royal Canadian Legion choir was cued up to sing God Save the Queen and the parade of veterans and soldiers had been instructed to commence their march away from the Cenotaph when the man collapsed.
The crowd gasped as he fell to the ground.
“I just saw the flag drop,” remarked one onlooker.
An ambulance is normally present at all major events and ceremonies, but they had all been called away.
A first responder arrived on scene within two minutes. The ambulance arrived five minutes later.
The man did not appear to be conscious after collapsing.
“His eyes were closed and he really did not look like he was moving,” said UPEI Student Hannah Rollwage.
While the paramedics assessed man, a Roman Catholic priest blessed the man whom the Master of Ceremonies referred to as “our fallen comrade”, a term used to reference dead soldiers.
“It looked like they had an emergency Defibrillator,” said Rollwage. “There was beeping happening on his chest, they had opened his shirt.”
It took 20 minutes to clear the scene and recommence the ceremony. The choir performed an impromptu version of Amazing Grace as the crowd cheered and the man was loaded into the ambulance.
It is unknown which war the man was a veteran of. The average age of Korean War Veterans is 80 and the average age of World War II veterans is 88.
As we approach the 100th Anniversary of the commencement of the First World War, veterans of the wars from the last century are becoming hard to find.
Florence Green, who served in the United Kingdom’s Women’s Royal Air Force, died earlier this year at 110 years old. She was the last living World War I veteran.
There are approximately 1 million World War II veterans remaining world wide, 680 of those men and women die everyday, says The U.S. Veterans Administration.
In 4 years, we will have very few World War II veterans living.
As of March 2012, Veterans Affairs Canada estimates that Canada has 107,600 World War II veterans and 10,600 Korean War veterans remaining.