From the young to the old, the decorated to the thankful, hundreds of residents participated in Remembrance Day ceremonies at three locations in our region Monday.
Cloudy but fair weather greeted those who paid their respects to the fallen and remember the sacrifices of all at ceremonies in Bowser, Qualicum Beach and Parksville.
In Bowser, Legion Padre Bernie Thompson asked people to never forget those who gave their lives and served in many conflicts of the past. He also urged people to think of those who may have returned in the recent past from service in Afghanistan, service men and women who may be struggling with post traumatic stress disorder.
A military-style fly-by had heads looking skyward just before the ceremonies began and the Bowser Legion Branch was filled to capacity with members of the public after the laying of the wreaths.
Meanwhile, the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre was filled to standing-room-only levels Monday as the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 76 joined those across the country marking Remembrance Day at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
The rain held off on the appropriately grey day as veterans and supporters marched from the downtown to the civic centre where ceremonies were held, before marching back to the Legion for refreshments and camaraderie. The Last Post and Reveille in Qualicum Beach were performed by KSS trumpeter Dave Stewart and the parade salute was accepted on behalf of all veterans by Command Chief Warrant Officer (ret.) Lee Faulkner. Susan Boyce sang O Canada and God Save the Queen and event master of ceremonies was Comrade Don Taylor.
In Parksville, a large crowd paused and bowed their heads for a moment’s reflection at the cenotaph to remember all of the brave men and women who courageously volunteered for the cause of freedom and peace. The silence was broken by the sounding of The Last Post.
The traditional trumpet call commemorating the war dead was performed by Nick Rivers of Parksville.
Rivers has been playing his trumpet for the Parksville Remembrance Day ceremony for five years now and said it was an honour to be chosen for such an important tradition. He said he was not only paying honor to all veterans who have served, but to his grandfather who was in the navy in WW II.
Many of those gathered in Parksville were young and the few on hand who actually fought in the Second World War proudly wore their dress uniforms and medals of honour.
Many of their stories were shared afterwards at the Parksville Legion Branch 49, where retired military personnel and their families gathered for a lunch provided by Save-On-Foods at Wembley Mall. Since 1990, employees of the store have rolled up their sleeves to serve veterans lunch on Remembrance Day and to show gratitude to those who made sacrifices for our freedom.
— With files from Auren Ruvinsky and Brenda Gough