Honouring those fallen, and those still suffering

The Memorial Park Canadian flag is lowered to half mast on Remembrance Day Nov. 11, 2020. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)The Memorial Park Canadian flag is lowered to half mast on Remembrance Day Nov. 11, 2020. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
The Memorial Park Cenotaph, in the foreground, is the gathering place for Remembrance Day ceremonies including the Nov. 11, 2020 ceremony lead by Hope Legion president Ian Williams (background). (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)The Memorial Park Cenotaph, in the foreground, is the gathering place for Remembrance Day ceremonies including the Nov. 11, 2020 ceremony lead by Hope Legion president Ian Williams (background). (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
The familiar rendition of The Last Post by a bugler was combined with a drum song during the Remembrance Day ceremony 2020 in Hope’s Memorial Park. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)The familiar rendition of The Last Post by a bugler was combined with a drum song during the Remembrance Day ceremony 2020 in Hope’s Memorial Park. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
The familiar rendition of The Last Post by a bugler was combined with a drum song during the Remembrance Day ceremony 2020 in Hope’s Memorial Park. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)The familiar rendition of The Last Post by a bugler was combined with a drum song during the Remembrance Day ceremony 2020 in Hope’s Memorial Park. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
Adolf de Vries, Hope’s last remaining World War II veteran, salutes the Cenotaph and lays a wreath at Hope’s Memorial Park Nov. 11, 2020. He received a standing ovation from the small group gathered to mark the day amidst the coronavirus pandemic. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)Adolf de Vries, Hope’s last remaining World War II veteran, salutes the Cenotaph and lays a wreath at Hope’s Memorial Park Nov. 11, 2020. He received a standing ovation from the small group gathered to mark the day amidst the coronavirus pandemic. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
Far fewer wreaths were laid at the Remembrance Day ceremony 2020, those who purchased wreaths were instructed to lay them prior to or after the ceremony to avoid crowding. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)Far fewer wreaths were laid at the Remembrance Day ceremony 2020, those who purchased wreaths were instructed to lay them prior to or after the ceremony to avoid crowding. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
Hope’s Mayor Peter Robb lays a wreath on Remembrance Day 2020. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)Hope’s Mayor Peter Robb lays a wreath on Remembrance Day 2020. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
Few wreaths were laid at the 2020 Remembrance Day ceremony in Hope – these included Mayor Peter Robb, left, Staff Sergeant Karol Rehdner (behind, in red serge), Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl (front) and on behalf of newly re-elected MLA Jackie Tegart was Victor Smith, right. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)Few wreaths were laid at the 2020 Remembrance Day ceremony in Hope – these included Mayor Peter Robb, left, Staff Sergeant Karol Rehdner (behind, in red serge), Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl (front) and on behalf of newly re-elected MLA Jackie Tegart was Victor Smith, right. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
Ian Williams, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 228, presided over Remembrance Day 2020 in Hope. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)Ian Williams, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 228, presided over Remembrance Day 2020 in Hope. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
World War II veteran Adolf de Vries stands to introduce himself at Hope’s 2020 Remembrance Day ceremony. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)World War II veteran Adolf de Vries stands to introduce himself at Hope’s 2020 Remembrance Day ceremony. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
Ray Zervini lays a wreath on behalf of the Dutch government, at Remembrance Day 2020 in Hope. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)Ray Zervini lays a wreath on behalf of the Dutch government, at Remembrance Day 2020 in Hope. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
Staff Sergeant Karol Rehdner salutes the Memorial Park Cenotaph, where fallen soldiers are honoured, during Remembrance Day ceremonies Nov. 11, 2020. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)Staff Sergeant Karol Rehdner salutes the Memorial Park Cenotaph, where fallen soldiers are honoured, during Remembrance Day ceremonies Nov. 11, 2020. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
Phoenix Clark lays a wreath on behalf of Chawathil First Nation and the nations of the Tiyt Tribe. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)Phoenix Clark lays a wreath on behalf of Chawathil First Nation and the nations of the Tiyt Tribe. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
Standing guard as the colour party departs a shortened Remembrance Day ceremony Nov. 11, 2020. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)Standing guard as the colour party departs a shortened Remembrance Day ceremony Nov. 11, 2020. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)
A bugler plays The Last Post as the Canadian flag is lowered in Hope’s Memorial Park on Remembrance Day 2020. (Ray Daws photo)A bugler plays The Last Post as the Canadian flag is lowered in Hope’s Memorial Park on Remembrance Day 2020. (Ray Daws photo)
Those gathered at Nov. 11, 2020 Remembrance Day were masked and spaced apart, as the coronavirus pandemic continues in B.C. (Ray Daws photo)Those gathered at Nov. 11, 2020 Remembrance Day were masked and spaced apart, as the coronavirus pandemic continues in B.C. (Ray Daws photo)
President of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 228 Ian Williams salutes the Memorial Park Cenotaph as World War II veteran Adolf de Vries watches on. (Ray Daws photo)President of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 228 Ian Williams salutes the Memorial Park Cenotaph as World War II veteran Adolf de Vries watches on. (Ray Daws photo)

A small and solemn Remembrance Day ceremony in Hope paid homage to those whose lives have been claimed in battle, as well as those who made it home yet continue to suffer greatly.

“We will also remember those amongst us that are suffering from PTSD, a totally debilitating condition caused by the signs, sights, sounds and smells of unimaginable conditions that no person should go through,” said Ian Williams, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 228 on Nov. 11 shortly before 11 a.m. “Too many of our returning vets are suffering and receiving no help for their torment and a lot of them don’t know there is help because they’re not being told about it. We can do better.”

Remembrance Day is held every year in Canada on Nov. 11, at 11 a.m. as Armistice Day – the agreement which ended the First World War – took place on Nov. 11, 1918 at 11 a.m. It was first observed in 1919 across the British Commonwealth and continues to be observed by Canada and several commonwealth states.

“During the silence, we will remember our fallen comrades, soldiers, sailors, airmen, UN peacekeepers, police force, firefighters, first responders, missionaries, and all who have served in the name of peace since we last gathered together,” Williams said.

World War II veteran Adolf de Vries, who served with the Royal Dutch Marines, was honoured at the ceremony as he sat near the podium.

Williams words were followed by the singing of Oh Canada, as the masked onlookers hummed and sang along in low tones. After this, Williams read Psalm 23. As the Canadian flag was lowered to half mast, a bugler played The Last Post and then followed two minutes of silence.

Williams read the names of Hope area veterans who have passed away in the past year: Jack Lawrence, Marjorie Houghton, Spencer De Angelis, Lynn Smith, Ian Newbigging, Ed Neu, Bud Ashdown, Arthur Coghill, Tony De Angelis and Hans Pietsch.

“They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old: Age shall not worry them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them,” Williams read from Laurence Binyon’s For the Fallen. Sam and David Gutierrez and one more drummer performed a drum song for those gathered, as Williams urged those gathered to remember “our fallen Indigenous brothers and sisters” who are also remembered on the Nov. 8 National Aboriginal Veterans Day.

Even as all protocol was followed to mark Remembrance Day, the reality of an ongoing pandemic seeped in. Whether it was the warnings of Williams, the very few wreath layers and the small audience, it was evident that things were not business as usual. Yet the donations the Legion brought in from poppy sales and wreaths – all of which stays in Hope for local veterans and their families – were very close to last year’s total of just over $9,000 raised. In total 40 wreaths were purchased compared to last years 45, with some groups choosing to donate and not lay a physical wreath and others laying theirs prior to or following the ceremony.

Williams spoke of the importance of using the tools available to battle COVID-19 — masks, hand washing, sanitizing, standing six feet apart – as the pandemic continues to claim lives.

“It’s all part of any soldier, sailor, airman, anybody that knows, they go to war, they get the tools. We have been offered the tools, let’s use them. This is not what we expected, but this is the reality we live in.”

And as de Vries laid his wreath on the cenotaph, muffled applause from gloved hands began to spread among the few spectators present. A standing ovation of sorts, for Hope’s last remaining World War II veteran.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
emelie.peacock@hopestandard.com


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