The West Coast will share a solemn day of reflection on Friday as communities come together to honour those who sacrificed in pursuit of peace.
Remembrance Day Ceremonies will be held in Tofino and Ucluelet on Friday.
Tofino’s service will be held at the cenotaph outside the Royal Canadian Legion at 11 a.m.
Ucluelet’s service will begin with a 10:50 a.m. parade on Peninsula Road leading to the cenotaph outside the Ucluelet Army, Navy and Airforce Veterans Club.
The ANAF is looking for a few more volunteers to assist with the ceremony and following luncheon and anyone able to lend a hand is encouraged to contact Club President Bronwyn Kelleher at 250-266-5914.
“When I was a kid, Remembrance Day was about remembering the veterans from World War One and World War Two and that is no longer the case. There are active wars happening in the world right now and it’s extremely important at this time to actually look at what’s happening in the world and take a stand for peace,” Kelleher told the Westerly News.
“We are a growing community. There has been a lot of new members coming to this town and coming together as a cohesive group on Remembrance Day is important for us all to lay aside our differences, our different views and aspirations, and for our community to stop and remember those that served for peace and that we should all have peace.”
Ucluelet’s newly elected mayor Marilyn McEwen will be laying a wreath on behalf of the district during the community’s ceremony.
“It’s important everywhere to remember The War and how devastating it was and to honour those that fought to keep us free,” she said, adding Remembrance Day resonates with Ucluelet’s small, tight-knit community.
“As opposed to people living in a big city like Vancouver, they probably don’t go to any sort of ceremony, whereas I’ve always thought our Remembrance Day ceremony was beautiful,” she said. “It just has everybody from the community out, hopefully it’s not going to be a soaking wet rainy day and it’s an opportunity to be together, but for a solemn reason.”
Tofino mayor Dan Law said Remembrance Day is one of his community’s “most moving ceremonies of the year.”
“I encourage people to stop whatever they’re doing when the time comes and just be silent and reflect,” he said.
Law explained his family has a long history with the military. His great grandfather died in the Murmansk Run in WWI, his grandfather “served in every theatre of war,” his uncle fought in the Gulf War and his father had a career in the military and their stories formed a large part of his youth.
“My mom was born in England and their family would often tell stories about The War. Remembering World War One and World War Two was part of my growing up,” he said.
“Certainly The Great Wars were part of both mine and my wife Mollie’s family history and of course had a big impact on who our grandparents were.”
He added stories of war must continue to be told so that memory does not fade.
“There’s always the possibility that, as times go by and new generations move forward, ceremonies like Remembrance Day can diminish, but I think that part of our job is to keep that memory alive and keep the ceremony alive and bring those stories back to the forefront of our thinking so that we do remember the terrible tragedy of war and the sacrifices that so many people have made for us,” he said.
He added the ongoing war in Ukraine should resonate with all Canadians.
“I think it’s especially important now that we take the time to gather and remember, noting the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Europe being once again on high alert, probably the highest alert it’s been on in many, many decades,” he said.
“The (Canadian) federal government certainly is very involved and that should be something that all Canadians should be thinking about and pondering. Essentially, we have a fellow democracy that’s invaded and at risk and it is the responsibility of all free democratic countries to defend that in some way shape or form. This does affect us. It affects democracies. It affects the entire world. We’re all so very connected in our global community now in many ways, technically, economically, politically, that the war in Ukraine does have an impact on the world and Canada and we should all very much take note.”
READ MORE: VIDEO: Remembrance Day in Ucluelet