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VIDEO: Proud grandson brings war hero’s portrait to Maple Ridge Remembrance Day ceremony

Hundreds attended the ceremony at the cenotaph in Memorial Peace Park

Following the Remembrance Day ceremony in Maple Ridge, Terry Pegahmagabow, slowly made his way to the cenotaph carrying a framed portrait of his grandfather who fought during the First World War – along with an autobiography of his life.

His grandfather was Corp. Francis Pegahmagabow, who was the most highly decorated Indigenous Canadian from the First World War.

Corp. Pegahmagabow fought with the 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion and was an Ojibwa warrior of the Parry Island Band in Ontario.

He returned from the First World War as a renowned sniper and scout.

Terry, who has lived in Maple Ridge for the past three years, explained how his grandfather had received an honourable mention in Ottawa four years ago.

“Rather than leaving him on the wall, just tried to bring him out,” he said of his grandfather’s image, adding that it was very special to bring his portrait out to the ceremony in Memorial Peace Park.

“He was actually the very last Pegahmagabow on earth to achieve what he did and then come home and make a family,” said the grandson.

Chris Koenig, a captain with the Air Cadets in Maple Ridge, 583 Coronation Squadron, placed Corp. Francis Pegahmagabow’s portrait on the cenotaph as people placed their poppies and wreaths nearby.

Koenig told Terry how he knew his grandfather’s story from watching documentaries about the First World War, especially documentaries about the service of members of First Nations in Canada.

“He is a very renowned World War One sniper,” said Koenig about Corp. Pegahmagabow. “He saved a lot of lives.”

Hundreds of people attended the ceremony in Maple Ridge – initially lining 224 Street to watch the parade from the Royal Canadian Legion to the cenotaph in Memorial Peace Park.

Attendees even watched from rooftop parkades to get a good view of the ceremony that started off with the singing of O Canada, followed by a recitation of the poem In Flanders Fields, the official roll call of those soldiers who never made it home, a prayer, the playing of the Last Post, before two minutes of silence, and the singing of God Save the King.

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Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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