A Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) councillor hopes to be able to invite more people to Remembrance Day services next year by which time a cenotaph will have been installed.
Rick Gilbert was amongst the small group that gathered outside near the community’s cemetery on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020 where a large white wooden cross adorned with poppies and the words ‘Lest We Forget’ stood.
“Most of them are gone now but we knew them all,” he said.
Of the 12 WLFN veterans having served in the Second World War was Gilbert’s father George Edward Gilbert.
A 13th WLFN veteran had served in the Korean War.
This is the second year WLFN has paid tribute on Nov. 11 to their fallen warriors.
In 2019, Gilbert and his wife along with a few other members organized a last-minute commemoration at the same location where the cross was permanently installed.
This year WLFN staff assisted Gilbert by setting up tables and chairs for elders alongside a couple of heaters for the ceremony after which coffee and doughnuts were served.
While Gilbert and Chief Willie Sellars could not hide their disappointment several days later that a new cenotaph did not arrive in time, Gilbert is confident it will be erected beside the cross well before next year’s ceremony.
The cenotaph will feature a bronze plaque in which the names of WLFN veterans will be inscribed to never be forgotten.
“The unverified estimate of NStQ veterans is 175,” said Eric Sannes, Northern Shuswap Tribal Council communications manager.
“This number does not account for veterans still living.”
Northern Secwēpemc te Qelmūcw (NStQ) represents four of 17 bands that make up the Secwepemc Nation. It includes WLFN, Canim Lake Band, Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation (Canoe/Dog Creek) and Soda Creek Indian Band.