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Qualicum Beach Field of Crosses honours memory of fallen Canadian soldiers

Special opening ceremony remembered fallen, veterans

A field of crosses once again stands in Qualicum Beach to honour those who died in the First and Second World Wars.

An opening ceremony remembered the fallen and veterans at 11 a.m. on Nov. 3.

The Rotary Club of Qualicum Beach and Royal Canadian Legion Branch 76 set up the crosses on the grassy area near Memorial Drive by the railroad tracks.

“This exhibit is a visual memorial that represents the young soldiers from Qualicum Beach, Parksville and area who bravely gave their lives and never returned home,” said Kim Dorcas, a representative of the Rotary Club of Qualicum Beach, during the ceremony. “Buried overseas, we remember those soldiers with a white cross.”

Each cross, adorned with a single poppy, includes the soldier’s name, military decorations, age at death, rank, regiment unit and the date of death.

Coun. Scott Harrison shared an experience he had while teaching English in South Korea.

While in a restaurant, a teenage boy approached Harrison and handed him a hand-written note, which read:

Canadians are almost Koreans, because 60 years ago they fought for our country.

“The sacrifices we’ve made as Canadians throughout history have been remembered by the people in those countries where we fought,” Harrison said. “There should be no forgotten wars and no forgotten warriors.”

READ MORE: Queen Elizabeth II remembered in ceremonies across Parksville Qualicum Beach

In the First World War, more than 60,000 Canadians sacrificed their lives with almost 20,000 of them buried in unmarked graves overseas. In the Second World War, more than 40,000 Canadian soldiers died. 516 Canadians died in the Korean War (1950-1953), the third-deadliest conflict in Canada’s history and 158 Canadian soldiers and seven civilians died in the Afghanistan conflict (2001-2014).

The Field of Crosses originated in Calgary where 3,500 crosses are erected along Memorial Drive in remembrance of the soldiers from the southern Alberta area that were killed in action.

The Qualicum Beach Field of Crosses, which began in 2020, originally commemorated the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and Liberation of Europe.

A candlelight vigil is set for Nov. 10 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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