Not even the chilly weather could stop the community from showing their support, during the Remembrance Day ceremony Nov. 11.
The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 228 (Hope) says they are grateful and humbled by the large gathering who came to the Memorial Park Cenotaph for the 11 a.m. ceremony. In fact, almost a hundred people, all wearing bright red poppies, showed their support for those who died serving their country.
“It went very well,” says Ian Williams, the president of the Hope Legion. “I’m glad. It got a good crowd there. And the weather was sort of calm for us. Chilly, but that was expected. And I was really impressed with the colour guard and the honour guard. Some of them are just young kids and they did an amazing job.”
With COVID-19 mandates finally being lifted this year, people were once again able to stay for the event and observe the two minutes of silence at 11 a.m., the formal ending of the battles of the First World War on Nov. 11, 1918. Like the previous years, this year’s Remembrance Day event included a parade — featuring the Colour Party — along with a reading of John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields,” a speech dedicated to those who have passed on, and a drumming ceremony. Despite previous worries about it before, Friday’s ceremony did include a bugler, Jeremiah Steberl, who opened and closed the event with mournful trumpeting.
Newly sworn-in mayor Victor Smith attended the ceremony, along with the chief administrative officer John Fortoloczky. Together they laid a wreath as representatives of the District of Hope. In total, 43 wreaths were laid at the cenotaph by various Hope organizations. This included (though not limited to), Hope RCMP, Hope Firefighters, Hope and Area Transition Society, the District of Hope Ratepayers Association, Buy-Low Foods, Rotary Club of Hope, Yale Firefighters, and Hope Search and Rescue. A wreath, from all the Indigenous communities of the area, was also placed at the cenotaph.
After the event, the crowd placed their poppies on the cenotaph before heading to the Legion Hall for food, drinks, and live entertainment.
This year’s ceremony is the first without any Second World War veterans in attendance. On July 11, one of Hope’s Second World War veterans, Adolf Devries, passed away. He served with the Koninklijke Mariniers, training in 1945 at Camp LeJeune in North Carolina and then served five years in the Dutch East Indies.
In light of more veterans passing away, Williams says he would like to reach out to young veterans and encourage them to join the Hope Legion as “the Legion is also their Legion too.”
He also hopes to find bagpipers for next year’s ceremony.
“We’re always looking for volunteers to help out,” says Williams. “It’s not that we want someone down here 24 hours a day, we just need somebody to come down and help for two, or three, hours during busy times.”
This year, 20 people renewed membership with the Legion while 8 new members signed on. Williams hopes this number will increase throughout the year.
For those interested in joining, you can email the Legion at email@example.com.