In Pictures: Remembrance Day 2010

By David F. Rooney

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:

Army Cadet Bugler Gregory O'Hagan stands at attention as other members of the Guard of Honour assume their positions around the cenotaph minutes before the beginning of this year's Remembrance Day ceremony. David F. Rooney photo
Led by bagpipers and red-coated Mounties, the parade of Revelstoke's dwindling number of veterans approaches along First Street West. David F. Rooney photo
The parade arrives. David F. Rooney photo
Where there were once many veterans, today there are so very, very few. David F. Rooney photo
The Colour Party lowers their flags as Sharon Shook leads the hundreds of people at this year's ceremony in singing O Canada. David F. Rooney photo
Marlene MacQuarrie, chaplain for Royal Canadian Legion Branch 46, prays publicly for peace and thanks God for the courageous soldiers, sailors and airmen who fought in Canada's wars. David F. Rooney photo
Capt. Kelly Rienks of the Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps salutes as silence reigns across the City in honour of those who died in two world wars, the Korean War, numerous UN peacekeeping missions and the current war in Afghanistan. David F. Rooney photo
Cadet Gregory O'Hagan plays The Last Post, the haunting melody that marks the minute of silence. David F. Rooney photo
Mounties, Auxiliary Constables, Commissionaires and Parks Canada wardens stand at attention. David F. Rooney photo
Mayor David Raven told the crowd it may be difficult to imagine the terror of battle. David F. Rooney photo
Branch 46 President John Opra asks people to continue to remember, even after the last veteran has passed from this world to the next. David F. Rooney photo
John Augustyn carries the national wreath to the cenotaph. David F. Rooney photo
Revelstoke Ambassadors, Girl Guides, Brownies, Sparks and members of the Grizzlies watch the ceremony. David F. Rooney photo
These youngsters carry a cross of poppies to the cenotaph on behalf of the Girl Guides. David F. Rooney photo
Scores of Revelstokians carry wreaths and crosses to lay around the cenotaph in honour of our community's war dead. David F. Rooney photo
Photographers snap images of the ceremony. David F. Rooney photo
Tessa Davis (left) conducts the Community Band whose members played marvelously. David F. Rooney photo
A last look at the cenotaph and tribute of poppies. David F. Rooney photo