Hundreds of people from across the Central Okanagan gathered at a Remembrance Day ceremony today at Kelowna City Park to honour and remember the more than two million Canadians who have served or are serving in wars around the world.
As part of the event, Mayor Colin Basran, local MPs and those with a family connection to a war laid wreaths under the city cenotaph to pay their respect to the 200 Kelowna residents listed on the monument and to other Canadians who’ve enlisted.
To honour the more than 117,00 Canadians who have died from war, soldiers marched in unity to fly the flags of the ten provinces and three territories together in front of what was described to be the largest Remembrance Day crowd ever at Kelowna City Park.
One of those people in the crowd was Kelowna resident John Gordin, who said the passing of a close family member involved in a war was one reason he attended the ceremony on Monday.
“My uncle died in the war in 1944. He is represented in one of the crosses beside the cenotaph in Kelowna.”
“It’s a good time to remember him and reflect on the fact that he was just a few years older than our grandson (when he died.)
Gordin’s uncle was one of 240 Kelowna residents — the number of Kelowna soldiers who have died from war — who had crosses put up for their family members near the cenotaph to pay tribute to their service. The Field of Crosses event runs for 11 days leading up to Remembrance Day in many Canadian cities to honour fallen soldiers.
A singing of the Canadian anthem, soldiers marching with the flags of the Canadian provinces and territories and a performance of the Last Post are just some of the highlights of this year's Remembrance Day ceremony taking place in downtown Kelowna. pic.twitter.com/SA0u4jX3kG— Connor Trembley (@ConnorTrembley) November 11, 2019
Kelowna residents Simon and Maomi Mills had another reason for attending the event.
“Both of our grandparents were involved in World War Two, so we want to honour them and everyone else who fought for their country and sacrificed their lives,” said Mills.
“We also have our daughter, and we want to make sure that every year we bring her so she remembers her great grandparents who served.”
Other highlights from the event included the playing of the Last Post and God Save the Queen, a benediction to all those who served or who are serving, and a Remembrance Day parade that occurred after the ceremony down Lawrence Avenue to Stuart Park.
Nov. 11, 2019 marked the 101st anniversary since the armistice of World War One.