Lest we forget: Thousands gather for Remembrance Day ceremony in Vancouver
VANCOUVER – Thousands of people gathered at the Victory Square cenotaph in downtown Vancouver Monday to honour Canada's veterans and pay their respects to those who made ultimate sacrifice.
This year's Remembrance Day ceremony commemorated the 75th anniversary of D-Day, when allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944 – an effort that would eventually lead to the liberation of Nazi-occupied France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
But those important victories came at a terrible price for Canadian soldiers and their families.
"On D-Day alone, 359 Canadians were killed with over 700 wounded among the total of 10,000 allied casualties," said Cameron Cathcart, the director of ceremonies.
"When the battle of Normandy, as it is known, was finally over three months later, some 5,000 Canadians had been killed in action, 13,000 wounded, while fighting a very determined and tough enemy. It was a high price paid by our young men, all of whom were volunteers."
Monday's ceremony began with a march to the park, followed by the recital of O Canada and a performance by the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services band, the Pipes and Drums of the Seaforth Highlands of Canada and the Bach Youth Choir.
At 11 a.m., the bugle was sounded for the Last Post. The crowd observed two minutes of silence as the 15th Field Artillery Regiment provided a 21-gun salute and the Royal Canadian Air Force conducted a fly-past overhead.
Among the veterans in attendance was Penelope Stirling, who said she appreciates the number of young folks who show up every year.
"I think the young people are even better than the old ones. They're very good about turning out," she said.
Stirling was one of the 1.1 million Canadians who served in the Second World War. She said she's always overcome with emotion on Remembrance Day, particularly during the moment of silence.
"I always cry. That's all I can tell you. I get very upset," Stirling said.
Remembrance Day has been observed in Victory Square since the cenotaph was unveiled in 1924, making the services the oldest ongoing annual ceremony in Vancouver.
There were several other Remembrance Day services throughout the city, however, including at the Japanese Canadian War Memorial in Stanley Park and at Mountain View Cemetery.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Nafeesa Karim and Kendra Mangione
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