Cer­e­mony marks 100th an­niver­sary of end of First World War

The Prince George Citizen - - Front Page - Chris­tine HINZMANN Cit­i­zen staff chinz­[email protected]­i­t­i­zen.ca

Leave it to MLA Shirley Bond to bring us into the tick-in­fested, eight-foot deep trenches of a com­bat zone, stand­ing in the muck up to our knees in the rain, eat­ing moldy bread to de­mand we see – if only for a mo­ment – the re­al­i­ties of war dur­ing the Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­monies held at the Civic Cen­tre Sun­day morn­ing.

It was writ­ten all over her somber face as she quoted a short para­graph from Pierre Ber­ton’s book Vimy.

Bond was at the Re­mem­brance Day event to hon­our those vet­er­ans that were present, and those who were left be­hind on the bat­tle fields.

“Lest we for­get” sud­denly meant some­thing to each and every per­son at the cer­e­mony. We weren’t go­ing to for­get, thanks to Bond’s stark re­minder.

Bond was just one of many speak­ers at the Civic Cen­tre cer­e­mony that ac­knowl­edged the 100th an­niver­sary of the First World War where about 200 peo­ple were on their feet as sev­eral hun­dred oth­ers were lucky enough to find a seat for the 90-minute event.

“As we re­flect on the 100th an­niver­sary of the ar­mistice, it is hard, if not im­pos­si­ble to imag­ine what it was like for those who fought and what they en­dured on our be­half,” Bond said, who went on to thank those who have and are serv­ing in the mil­i­tary to­day.

Other dig­ni­taries who spoke dur­ing the cer­e­mony in­cluded MP Todd Do­herty, MLA Mike Mor­ris, act­ing Mayor of Prince Ge­orge Garth Frizell and Chief Do­minic Fred­er­ick of the Lhei­dli T’en­neh First Na­tion.

Then came a few words from Memo­rial Cross Mother Colleen Fitz­patrick who lost her son Cpl. Dar­ren Fitz­patrick on March 20, 2010 when he suc­cumbed to in­juries sus­tained in a bomb blast in Afghanista­n where he had been serv­ing as an in­fantry­man with the 3rd Bat­tal­ion, Princess Patricia’s Cana­dian Light In­fantry, based at CFB Ed­mon­ton.

She emo­tion­ally talked about the toll war takes on those left be­hind and that hav­ing loved ones ac­knowl­edged dur­ing the Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­monies helps.

“It’s so mean­ing­ful to the fam­i­lies that their loved ones be re­mem­bered,” Fitz­patrick said.

Af­ter more of the tra­di­tional cer­e­mony took place, in­clud­ing the per­for­mance of Amaz­ing Grace, the recita­tion of Flan­ders Fields, the War­riors’ Lament and the singing of the na­tional an­them and the royal an­them, those in at­ten­dance were in­vited to go to the tem­po­rary ceno­taph placed in the mid­dle of the street on Sev­enth Av­enue, close to the Terry Fox Memo­rial.

Thou­sands of peo­ple at­tended and when the Last Post was bu­gled and two min­utes of si­lence were ob­served all eyes were raised as an RCAF Hawk air­craft from 419 Squadron flashed across the sky to hon­our those who have been af­fected by con­flict and to ac­knowl­edge the ar­mistice.

A very emo­tional Robyn Holling stood at the back of the crowd at the tem­po­rary ceno­taph in hon­our of gen­er­a­tions of her fam­ily who have been af­fected by war.

“I grew up in a mil­i­tary fam­ily,” Holling said, whose dad served in the reg­i­ment in New West­min­ster and her grand­fa­ther, who was in the Royal Air Force.

“It’s just hard this year be­cause my dad is not well,” Holling said.

Glen Holling now lives in Wil­liams Lake and Robyn doesn’t get to see him as much as she’d like.

“Be­ing in a mil­i­tary fam­ily, this has been part of my whole life, right? So this just brings back mem­o­ries of watch­ing my dad in the pa­rade so it’s just hard to be here with­out my fam­ily.”

Holling said she watches doc­u­men­taries about war at this time every year.

“When you see what the peo­ple went through and the fam­i­lies and what they lost and you look at our young chil­dren – they have no idea,” Holling said.

Dur­ing the ceno­taph cer­e­mony there were chil­dren who were laugh­ing and play­ing nearby, as par­ents were there to re­mem­ber.

“To see those chil­dren play­ing it was one of those happy and sad things,” Holling ex­plained.

“They don’t have a con­cept of it – and isn’t that great?”

CIT­I­ZEN PHOTO BY JAMES DOYLE

John Scott, vice pres­i­dent of the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion BC/ Yukon Com­mand, salutes as a bu­gler plays Reveille on Sun­day as part of Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­monies.

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