We take time every year on Nov. 11 to remember those who have given their lives defending the freedoms and values we cherish.
Nov. 11 marks the end of the First World War, which ended at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 — a conflict in which more than 60,000 Canadians died.
Remembrance Day is a time to reflect on the sacrifices made by the men and women of our armed forces, who gave their lives to defend our country, and what it means.
Today, we wear poppies in the days leading up to Remembrance Day as a symbol of respect for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
They also remind us to give thanks to the men and women who serve in our armed forces today, and who are willing to put themselves in danger to keep us and others safe. Since 1921, the Royal Canadian Legion’s poppy campaign has helped provide direct assistance for former service people in financial distress, as well as funding for medical appliances and research, home services, care facilities and numerous other purposes.
It is also worth knowing that there is proper etiquette for wearing a poppy. The poppy should always be fastened on clothing on the wearer’s left-hand side, close to the heart. Poppies should not be fastened on hats or other objects. In Williams Lake, Remembrance Day ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. with a short service in the Gibraltar Room at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex. From there, veterans will march to the cenotaph at city hall where there will be speeches, pipes, a chaplain’s address and the laying of 32 wreaths, including one by Jan Hermiston, this year’s Silver Cross Mother, whose son Darren is on active duty.
There will also be a Missing Man Formation fly-by, an impressive aerial salute by members of the Williams Lake Flying Club. Later, a wreath will be laid at the Korean War cenotaph at the Legion. As we remember the countless Canadians who gave their lives for our freedom, let’s also thank the veterans who are still with us, and those men and women serving in the armed forces today.
Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.