This year’s Remembrance Day ceremony was made more poignant by the plea from Royal Canadian Legion Branch 46 President John Opra that Revelstokians keep faith with the country’s war dead after the last veterans have passed away.
“It’s gratifying to see so many of you come out,” Opra said.
The last First World War vet is dead and the ranks of Second World War veterans are emptying quickly.
Quoting from the iconic poem, In Flanders Fields, Opra recited:
“Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.“
Revelstokians have long been aware that our country’s veterans are passing from this world to the next, and have so far kept faith with the dead.
The annual ceremony is easily one of the best attended public events with hundreds of people of all ages in attendance.
Branch 46 Chaplain Marlene MacQuarrie gave thanks to “the Creator of the universe… for the peace we enjoy” and noted that Revelstoke gratefully remembers “those who fought on the land, on the sea and in the air to make that possible.”
But for generations of Canadians who have grown to adulthood in a peaceful and prosperous land, imagining the terror of battle and the brutal horror of war is almost impossible.
Mayor David Raven noted that most people have no direct understanding of that.
Despite that we must continue to honour “the harsh realities of (our soldiers’) sacrifices,” he said.
Here’s the full poem, In Flanders Fields by John McCrae:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.
And here is a selection of photos depicting the day’s ceremony from start to finish: