A large crowd gathered at Castlegar’s cenotaph in Kinsmen Park on Saturday to participate in Remembrance Day ceremonies and remember those who served Canada and those who were lost in action.
Bob Brommeland, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 170 Castlegar/Robson, led the ceremonies.
“On Nov. 11, Canadians gather to remember those who gave their lives during World War I, World War II and the Korean War. Since those wars, many Canadian men and women have been put in harm’s way. In the peacekeeping forces in Egypt and in the Middle East in the 1960s. They were in harm’s way in Bosnia, Croatia and Yugoslavia. Over 250 Canadians were lost in Afghanistan. They were in harm’s way in Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait and in countries in Africa,” he said.
“On the home front, our men and women in the RCMP are often put in harm’s way in carrying out their duties. Sadly one of their members was lost in the last week,” Brommeland added, referring to the death of Abbotsford Police Const. John Davidson.
Brommeland also read the Primer Minister’s Remembrance Day letter aloud, which began the speeches from government officials.
Neither local MP Richard Cannings nor MLA Katrine Conroy were able to attend the Castlegar ceremony, but speeches were delivered on their behalf.
Castlegar Mayor Lawrence Chernoff addressed the crowd, calling for greater unity among Canadians.
“Canadian unity is not as strong today as it once was when men from all parts of Canada came to a place called Vimy Ridge in 1917, where everybody said it was impossible to take the ridge from the enemy. In a very important battle, on a very cold day, the Canadians did what nobody thought was possible: they took Vimy Ridge,” he said.
“In Canadian classrooms today, there are students whose parents who even themselves remember other wars. Some of them remember the terrible ordeal of escaping to freedom. To them, the poppy can be a symbol of that freedom, but it is important for all of us to remember that the unity of Canadians in wartime enables all of us to enjoy freedom,” he added later, saying that the sense of a common cause seems to be lacking in Canada.
The Twin Rivers Choir also participated in the ceremony, leading the singing of “O Canada” and “Indodana” — a traditional song of mourning, peace and hope.
Miss Castlegar, LeeAnn Zaitsoff, and Castlegar Princess, Emily Hultgren, read the poem “In Flanders Field” and Rev. Greg Powell gave the prayer and benediction.
Comrade Sam Brown from the Legion read the roll call, while David Leffelaar played the trumpet for “The Last Post” before the moment of silence and “Lament” and “Rouse” afterwards.
The laying of the wreaths began with Mrs. Dorothy Byrne laying the mother’s wreath and many Castlegar organizations, businesses, families and individuals laid wreaths after.
Once the ceremony had concluded, many of those present went forth to place their own poppies on the cenotaph.
Arthur J. Killough
Carlton Chadwick Nash
Barry F. Cleeton
Walter A. Houston
And all those who have passed since we last gathered together.