Emotional commemoration in Lac-Mégantic | JDQ

Despite the freezing temperatures, the Sainte-Agnes church was packed to capacity this afternoon for mass, the central and very emotional point of commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Lac-Mégantic tragedy.

• Read also: Lac-Mégantic: a drama that shook Quebec

• Read also: 10 years after the tragedy: meditation and commemoration in Lac-Mégantic

• Read also: Ten years ago, the death train arrived in the middle of Lac-Mégantic

Several politicians were present, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and François Legault, among the dignitaries. But also Stephane Bergeron and Geneviève Guilbault, the Minister of Public Security at the time. The current Minister for Transport experienced events from a different perspective, as she was the spokesperson for the Coroner’s Office at the time.

“It was still very hot when we arrived. People were searching for their loved ones,” he recalled before the start of the ceremony.

Called on by reporters to comment on the bypass project before the crowd, Justin Trudeau was reassuring people in favor of it.

“People are still suffering that tragedy every day, the train is going through the city, we have to end it and that’s what we’re going to do,” he said.

As the church was overcrowded, a few dozen relatives of the victims who wanted to be present also had to wait outside as they could not find space inside.

the victims

The mass prayer meeting began on a very touching note when photographs of the 47 victims were projected on a giant screen.

“I knew 40 very well. I went to the funeral of 15 or 16 people, but then stopped,” said Lucie Bilodeau, a resident at the end of the ceremony, remembering how difficult those times were.

“The ceremony was very quiet, very emotional. Commemorations are all right, they just don’t overdo it. You have to remember the past, but you also have to move forward.”

A sermon by Father Steve Lemay, who was the chaplain of Lac-Mégantic in 2013, earned her applause.

The theme chosen by the celebrants was “Watch your heart”, emphasizing the importance of watching yourself and the heart’s fundamental place in religion.

The pastor noted the “sorrow of losing a loved one”, but also the “side effects”, “debates and troubling changes”.

“I thank you for giving me the immense privilege of walking with you on the path of the heart. It has been said that I was a priest of tragedy. No, I was from Lac-Mégantic. I won’t speak publicly (on the tragedy) anymore but that doesn’t mean I forget. Before leaving you, I urge you, take care of your heart,” he concluded.

appreciation letter

The father of Cathy Clusioult, who died when she was 24 years old when she settled in Lac-Mégantic, says she is more calm now.

“I have another daughter, Kim, and then I’m a grandfather to two young granddaughters. Since then my focus was on Kim. There was nothing more I could do for Cathy. Everything I did involved Kim,” he said.

In addition, former railway controller Richard Labree spoke passionately about the events.

“I compare it to a little monster in my head. The demon comes out and I flatter him. I caress her a little, flatter her. I talk to him for a bit and then he goes back to bed, until next time,” she said.

Mr. Labrie had told the train’s conductor, Thomas Harding, that he did not need to return to guard the convoy.

ornate monument

On leaving the church, the dignitaries laid wreaths in front of the monument. A period of silence was observed after the bells were rung once for each victim.

Celebrants and Mass participants leave the Sainte-Agnes Church at the end of the commemoration.

photo Martin Lavoie

About 200 people took part in a march through the streets of the city center at 1:14 p.m.

At the same time, on July 6, 2013, a train full of oil derailed at full speed in the town of Lac-Megantic, causing a terrible explosion.

politicians influenced

“It was a difficult moment. We all remember where we were when we heard the news. It is important for the people of Lac-Mégantic to know that even though it has been 10 years, we have not forgotten. We will never forget. Now it’s time to say thank you to everyone who helped. I am thinking of Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche, then Premier Pauline Marois, all the first responders and citizens who intervened, among others. They will likely retain images in their mind for the rest of their lives. And thank you to all the staff who helped with both physical and mental health.

-François Legault, Premier of Quebec

“I can’t imagine being anywhere else today. Meganticoise has shown resilience and they continue to do so.

-Stephen Bergeron, Minister of Public Safety in 2013

“I understand that (bypass) is a complex subject. It has to be done, but we know it is difficult. People are worried. It requires attention and thought.

Omar Alghabra, Federal Minister of Transport

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