File photo The Qualicum Beach Legion Branch 76 cenotaph is illuminated by dozens of commemorative candles in the annual Candlelight Tribute, which returns this year the evening of Nov. 10.

Candles a tribute to veterans at Qualicum Beach ceremony

Legion hosts annual candlelight event Nov. 10

The Qualicum Beach Legion will once again be placing candles at its cenotaph the night before Remembrance Day in solemn remembrance.

Qualicum Beach Legion Branch 76 will host its annual Candlelight Tribute Ceremony Nov. 10, at 4 p.m. at the Legion’s cenotaph.

The candles will be presented and lit by local air cadets with a salute from the individual who purchased the candles.

“We have as many as 50 to 70 candles burning and they burn all through the night,”said Walter Sweet, Qualicum Beach Legion president.

The Candlelight Tribute Ceremony started 22 years ago in the Netherlands, when a special ceremony was held to commemorate the country’s liberation by Canadian forces 50 years earlier, according to Veterans Affairs Canada.

Children placed lighted candles on the graves of Canadian soldiers, and the candles remained lit overnight in a silent tribute.

The Veterans Affairs Canada website states residents were drawn to the cemeteries by “the soft red glow of the candles burning in the dark,” adding candlelight tributes have now become annual ceremonies in the Netherlands and other European countries.

Qualicum Beach began the tradition about eight years ago.

Sweet said the event has “no doubt” grown.

“In the beginning there were maybe 15 or 20 (people) and now we have a good gathering inside the fences at the cenotaph,” he said.

Sweet lights five candles for members of his family that were in the war.

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