A chilly morning, cloudy skies and no rains, saw several people coming down to pay their respects at the cenotaphs in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
From mothers and widows, children, grandchildren and friends of the forces, many residents of the two communities also attended the Royal Canadian Legion’s small celebration to honour the veterans on the 100th Poppy Anniversary and Remembrance Day.
Several dignitaries such as Pitt Meadows mayor Bill Dingwall, Maple Ridge mayor Mike Morden, MLA Lisa Beare, MP Marc Dalton, Inspector Adam Gander, Gary Porter with the fire department, Alan Banister with the Army Navy Air force club were present for the ceremony.
At 10:30 a.m. the ceremony began with a prayer from Kwantlen First Nation, followed by the march, rendition of O Canada, Maple Ridge Fire department’s Robert Bruce’s bagpipes, and laying of the wreath.
The Fraser Blues aerial precision flight team based in Langley also conducted their flyby over the ceremony as well as several others around the Lower Mainland. Many weren’t expecting the flybys this year but were pleasantly surprised.
Sandi Wight, daughter of a Second World War vet and a widow of Korea war vet who has been a member of the legion for 40 years, conducted the ceremony and expressed what an honour it was to be able to do this and thanked people for coming out to honour the veterans.
Korea war veteran, 93 year old David Lambert, who was a navy engineer, was also at the ceremony. He spoke with The News and expressed his joy at being able to attend the ceremony.
“Everyone just stay healthy and happy,” he said.
Several people were also seen at the cenotaph at the Memorial Peace Park in Maple Ridge.
Maple Ridge resident Van Tunen, a member of the 15th field artillery regiment, who has served mainly in reserve capacity and has been deployed for several training events and to support fire fighting efforts in trenches, was particularly happy to see people visiting the cenotaph.
“It is great to meet people, and see them visit and honour the veterans like this. This will be my last year with the forces, so this ceremony is especially moving for me. It will be the last time wearing my uniform,” said Tunen who has taken on a civilian employment.
“When you come here and see people coming and honouring veterans, well that’s what it is all about and I really appreciate everybody who came out today,” he said.
In Pitt Meadows too, many residents had placed their poppies and a few wreaths at the cenotaph in the Pitt Meadows Spirit Square.
Beverly and Bill Caston, from Pitt Meadows who were visiting the cenotaph talked about their connection to the forces and about this year’s Remembrance Day.
“It’s not the same without the big ceremony, but it is good to see so many people still coming down to honour,” said Beverly, a proud mother of Major Lesley Quinlan, who started in air cadets and later moved to army. Quinlan is now the Canadian Army Run director at Canadian Armed Forces and has represented Canada during the games in Wuhan. She is married to Lieutenant-Colonel Chris Quinlan, who has served in Bosnia and Afghanistan.
“I am very proud of my daughter and my son-in-law,” Beverly said.
Just outside the cenotaph was a troop of vehicles from the World War II.
The Western Command Military Vehicle Historical Society’s Jeff Davis, a cadet instructor in Maple Ridge, spoke with The News and expressed his excitement at being able to bring the World War II vehicles through the towns.
“We wanted to pay our respect. We are dedicated to restoring World War II and later times’ vehicles, to get the history remembered and honoured,” he said.
Davis has been the parade leader for the Maple Ridge Remembrance Day parade for the past 30 years, except last year and this, when all the ceremonies were cancelled due to COVID.
Despite the smaller ceremony through Legion, residents of both the communities found ways to celebrate and honour the veterans.
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