The memory of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent were invoked as thousands of people gathered at three Remembrance Day ceremonies in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region on Tuesday.
This year’s ceremony also marked the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War and 75th anniversary of the Second as veterans and service members of all stripes where honoured.
It was a sunny but crisp day as families gathered and explained the proceedings to the youngest of the crowds, with traditional programs, including the march in of the colour guard, O Canada, the Last Post and Reveille, two minutes of silence and the laying of wreaths.
In Parksville, where there may have been more than 1,500 people in attendance, Jessica Kelly sang O Canada and Nick Rivers trumpeted the Last Post and Reveille.
The proceedings were MC’d by Comrade Ron Yates, with Major Norman Hamelin giving the Prayer of Remembrance.
The Roll of Honour, 41 people from this area who fell during the First World War and 16 in the Second, was read out.
In Qualicum Beach, the importance of remembrance was the theme of the ceremonies, attended by more than 900 people at the civic centre.
“We forget don’t we? We don’t want to, but it’s the way of the world,” said Rev. Phil Spencer in his address. “But not today.”
The crowd spilled out into the foyer and the lawn. Microphones and speakers allowed everyone to hear the morning’s traditional program.
Comrade Susan Boyce sang O Canada, Alisha Yarham played the Last Post and Reveille and Shannon Penninton piped the Lament. President Jack MacLean of Qualicum Beach Legion read the Act of Remembrance before Comrade Don Taylor read out the Roll of Honour for the area.
The memories of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent were also honoured.
After the colours were retired, the parade re-formed and marched to the Legion. Afghanistan veteran Mike Rogers, Master Corporal (Ret) was waiting there to take the salute.
More than 350 people were packed around the cenotaph at the Legion in Bowser for the ceremonies, presided over by Legion members Ben Evans, Mary Robertson, Jack Wilson, Rick Nickerson and Ella May Smith. Ben Cave did the Last Post and Reveille and the Arrowsmith Pipes and Drums were on hand for the Lament.
Padre Brian Kirby read from the bible and provided a sermon for the crowd.
“We live in a very uncertain time in our world, a time of terrorism, a time of not knowing who to trust,” said Kirby, who made reference to Canadian fighter jets recently deployed to the Middle East. “In spite of all this, God promises there will come a time of peace.”
Please see inside today’s paper and our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/pqbnews) for more photos from the ceremonies.
— John Harding in Bowser, Auren Ruvinsky in Parksville, Jessica Skelton in Qualicum Beach