Thousands attend Remembrance Day ceremonies around Island

We do not celebrate; we do not glorify, said Reverend Andrew Gates as he led a prayer during a Remembrance Day ceremony at the B.C. legislature cenotaph on Monday.

“There is no glory standing here only to remember loved ones who have died, best friends we no longer embrace, they would not have us mired in a morass of grief,” said Gates, in a special prayer penned each year. “They wanted the world to change, if there were a debt to repay that is it.”

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The service in Victoria, attended by thousands, was preceded by a parade and followed by the singing of O Canada, a flypast, and the playing of the Last Post.

There was then two minutes of silence.

“So out of all the minutes in the calendar year, they gave us two, two minutes to remember, two minutes to reason, two minutes to react, two minutes to resolve, and then a lifetime to make a difference,” Gates said in his prayer.

He imagined aloud a better world where “we can disagree without killing” and “we can focus our resources so that everyone can enjoy the basic necessities of life.”

A 21-gun salute by the 5th B.C. Field Regiment rang out over the Inner Harbour and the Act of Remembrance was recited: They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, We will remember them.”

In their green uniforms at the cenotaph for this Remembrance Day was the Norforce, North-West Mobile Force, from Australia on a two-week exchange exercise with the Fourth Canadian Ranger Patrol Group of Victoria.

The Australian soldiers, who protect the north of Australia, head up to Terrace on Tuesday.

“It’s really special,” commanding officer Major James Oliver said of participating in the ceremony.

Lewis Madley, who turns 98 on Saturday, was in the front of the public viewing area again this year. He walked, albeit it slowly with a walker, and took the bus to the ceremony. “It’s the opportunity to think more concentratedly about the men I served with and especially those who never came back,” said Madley. “This is what this, for me, is all about.”

Madley, who joined the Royal Air Force in 1940 and served in Britain until 1942 — going on to serve in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, and finally France —said he was heartened by the youth he saw at the Remembrance Day ceremony. He thinks of what today’s youth have now in light of what could have been. “I think of what situation we would have been in if we hadn’t had won that war [Second World War],” said Madley. “Just imagine if we had had a Nazi government in Canada. That’s what these boys saved us all from.”

British Columbia Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin laid the first wreath at the cenotaph, followed by Silver Cross mother Sheila Fynes, her husband Shaun and their son Michael.

Their 28-year-old son, Stuart Langridge, killed himself March 15, 2008, having suffered post traumatic stress disorder after returning in 2005 from service in Bosnia and then in Afghanistan.

The Fynes fought for years to have Stuart recognized as a fallen soldier, his death attributable to military service. Fynes would eventually become Victoria’s Silver Cross mother.

Remembrance Day services were held across the country, in communities large and small. On Vancouver Island, people gathered at cenotaphs, community halls and municipal halls, including in Alert Bay, Port Hardy, Cedar, Tofino and Sooke.

Premier John Horgan issued a statement: “On Remembrance Day, we reflect on the horrors of war, loved ones lost and the sacrifice of those who returned to us with injuries, both visible and invisible.

“For generations, Canadians have bravely risked their lives to protect ours. We must never forget their sacrifice. We must stand united against hate, violence and intolerance. And we must work together to build a more peaceful world.”

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Remembrance Illuminated at Christ Church Cathedral. View the 20-minute show from the south green space known as Cathedral Commons. Hot chocolate is provided and visitors are welcome to explore the wartime display inside the cathedral, 7:30-9 p.m. at 930 Burdett Ave.;

CapriCCio Vocal Ensemble sings In Remembrance at Christ Church Cathedral, 930 Burdett Ave., 2 p.m. Tickets at Ivy’s Bookshop, Munro’s Books, Christ Church Cathedral Office, at the door or Veterans free.

Remembrance Day Big Band Dance at the Royal Canadian Legion, Langford branch, 761 Station Ave., 1:30-4 p.m.

Remembrance Day ceremonies: 

Victoria. Parade starting at 10:45 a.m. along Wharf, Government, Belleville and Menzies streets to the legislature grounds, followed by the ceremony near the cenotaph in front of legislature, on east lawns. 

Esquimalt. Remembrance Day service at Esquimalt Memorial Park cenotaph, 1227 Esquimalt Rd. at 11 a.m. Following the service, a reception hosted by Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 172 will be held at CFB Esquimalt’s Chief and Petty Officer's Mess on Lyall Street.

Oak Bay. Ceremony at Uplands Park cenotaph, 2800 Beach Dr. at 10:55 a.m. The 2800 block of Beach Drive will be closed to vehicle traffic.

Saanich. Event starts at Saanich police station, 760 Vernon Ave, at 10:45 a.m. with a marching band performance by the Greater Victoria Police Pipe Band, and continues on Vernon Avenue to the cenotaph at Saanich Municipal Hall, 770 Vernon Ave. Ceremony at the cenotaph begins at 10:50 a.m.

Central Saanich. 10:45 a.m. at Pioneer Park in Brentwood Bay, 1209 Clarke Rd.

Sidney. The Parade of Veterans begins at 10:30 a.m. at Mary Winspear Centre, proceeding along Beacon Avenue and ends at the cenotaph in front of Sidney Municipal Hall, 2440 Sidney Ave.

Langford. A parade of veterans, police, fire, emergency service workers, cadets, girl guides, scouts and other groups starts at 10 a.m. from the Langford Legion, 761 Station Ave., and continues to Veterans’ Memorial Park at Goldstream Avenue and Veterans Memorial Parkway.

Metchosin. March from at 10:45 a.m. from firehall to St. Mary the Virgin Heritage Church, 4125 Metchosin Rd., where ceremony will be held.

Royal Roads University. Service begins at 10:40 a.m. at Italian Garden, refreshments afterward at Hatley Castle. Hosted by Vancouver Island Ex-Cadet Club.

Sooke. March from Evergreen Plaza, 6660 Sooke Rd. about 10:30 a.m., ceremony at cenotaph at Royal Canadian Legion, 6726 Eustace Rd.

Goldstream Provincial Park. An Aboriginal ceremony with personnel from Maritime Forces Pacific/Joint Task Force Pacific starts at 9 a.m.

Salt Spring. Parade musters at Ganges post office at 10:15 a.m.; ceremony begins at 10:45 a.m. at cenotaph, Centennial Park in Ganges. 

Cobble Hill. Gathering at community hall at 10 a.m. followed by ceremony at cenotaph.

Lake Cowichan. Depart from Legion on North Shore Road at 10:45 a.m., arrive at cenotaph in Central Park on Stanley Street at 10:50 a.m. for service. 

Duncan. Remembrance Day ceremony starts at 10:45 a.m. at Charles Hoey Memorial Park, 130 Canada Ave. Reception at Valley Seniors Organization Citizen Centre, 198 Government St., follows the ceremony.

Nanaimo. Parade through downtown 10:30 a.m., ceremony at Dallas Square Park cenotaph at 11 a.m. Hosted by Royal Canadian Legion Nanaimo branch.

Remembering the Animal Victims of War Ceremony at the fountain at the rear of the legislature on Superior Street, 10:30 a.m.-noon.

Remembrance Day ceremonies around Vancouver Island:

Campbell River. Parade begins at Chances casino at 10:35 a.m. to cenotaph for ceremony and wreath laying at 11 a.m.

Cedar. 1 to 2:30 p.m. at Cedar Valley Memorial Gardens, 2347 Cedar Road

Chemainus. 10:45 a.m. at Chemainus Memorial Cenotaph, 9799 Willow St.; open house at Legion Hall following ceremony.

Comox. Parade begins on Nordin Street about 10:30 a.m., goes along Comox Avenue to cenotaph, ceremony at 11 a.m.

Courtenay. Parade starts from Legion on Cliffe Avenue at 10:40 a.m., marches to Jubilee Square where service begins at 10:50 a.m.

Cumberland. Parade begins at 10:35 a.m. on Dunsmuir Avenue at Third Street, goes to Royal Canadian Legion just past Fourth Street.

Gold River. 10 a.m. service at Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, 10:40 a.m. parade to cenotaph, 11 a.m. service at cenotaph.

Ladysmith. 10:45 a.m. at Royal Canadian Legion, 621 1st Ave.

Lantzville. 11 a.m. at cenotaph at Huddlestone Park

Parksville. 10:45 a.m. parade marches to cenotaph for 11 a.m. ceremony, Parksville Community Park, 100 Jensen Ave. E.

Port Alberni. 10:30 a.m. at Glenwood Centre, 4480 Vimy St.

Qualicum Beach. 11 a.m. service at Civic Centre, Second Avenue and Memorial Avenue; parade after service to Legion.

Tofino. 11 a.m. at Tofino Royal Canadian Legion, 331 Main St.

Royal Canadian Legion listing of Remembrance Day ceremonies around British Columbia

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