After missing last year’s event due to the pandemic, around 150 people turned out to the Slocan Village cenotaph last Remembrance Day to remember those who gave their lives for their country.
The president of the Slocan Valley Legion made note of that, finding the connection between today’s troubles and the past sacrifices of Canadian soldiers.
“I know we’ve been under a lot of stress this last year and a half. There’s been a lot of calamity in the world,” said Patrick Ashton. “We’ve had viruses, race riots, fires… we’ve had to sacrifice for months without seeing our loved ones.
“We’ve all been touched by what’s been going on,” he continued. “But what we have to remember is those people we are honouring today fought so we could protest, so we could have a say in how our government is run.
“In many years, I’ve not seen the world so divided. At a time when we need to come together, to help one another, this is the day we set aside to remember those who fought for this very right.”
After a parade march down Harold Street from the community’s Legion Hall, and the Last Post played, more than a dozen Valley businesses, organizations and government representatives laid wreaths at the simple stone memorial to Canada’s veterans and war dead.
Ashton noted that besides a return to a near-normal event (the traditional post-ceremony gathering was still cancelled), there was something special about this year. 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the first use of the poppy as a symbol of those soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the performance of their duty.
Ashton said our world needs to remember their example.
“Their legacy is peace. So let’s work together with our neighbours, our friends, our fellow countrymen,” he said. “Let’s work together for that ultimate goal of everlasting peace.
“So please when you leave here, take that with you, if you take nothing else.”
Slocan Mayor Jessica Lunn said she was gratified to see so may people turn out for the event.
“My heart is warmed by the turnout,” she told the Valley Voice as the crowd drifted away after the ceremony. “Pat does a wonderful job of getting people out, bringing them together. And this year, even though it’s a shorter ceremony, it was very powerful.
“Kudos to Pat and the Legion for the care and the heart they bring to this every year.”
John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice