November 11 2014Thousands of people woke up early to participate in Vancouver’s Remembrance Day Ceremony at Victory Square at 10 am. This event took on special significance this year not only because it marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, but also because of the two recent killings of Canadian Soldiers in Ontario and Quebec. Furthermore, there was increased police presence around Victory Square, with officers monitoring the situation from the rooftops surrounding the area, as well as Emergency Response teams checking vehicles parked nearby because of the recent killings.
Remembrance Day in Vancouver began with the Generation To Generation ceremony and the lighting of the cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza at 8:30 a.m. Then, a somber prelude was performed by The Vancouver Bach Youth Choir & Sarabande to commence the 2014 Remembrance Day Ceremony at Victory Square. This was followed with a singing of the national anthem “O Canada” and “The Maple Leaf Forever”. Poems were recited. Corporal James Alexander recited the very well known poem by John McCrae “In Flanders Fields”. Christopher Gaze, an actor from the Bard on the Beach production, recited “Young Fellow My Lad”. Furthermore, every year a youth is chosen to deliver a heart felt personal poem about Remembrance Day. This year, Charlotte Anna Friesen, a high school student from Lord Byng Secondary School, was chosen to present her very descriptive poem “Mustard Gas”.
The Last Post was sounded by trumpeters: Joe Foster and Dan McClelland, from the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services. It was then followed by the two-minute silence with the 21 gun salute at Portside Park. Veterans and Dignitaries paid their respects and placed official, recognized, and ceremonial wreaths on the bottom of the cenotaph at Victory Square. Following the ceremony, hundreds of people laid their poppies beside the wreaths beneath the cenotaph and the parade commenced and soldiers marched down West Hastings Street, West Cordova Street, and Cambie Street.
Remembrance is always special. This year, however, evidently brought higher emotions for Canadians as we mourn the loss of two fine gentlemen serving our country.