Legion honours past veterans in candlelight ceremony

Members of the Ponoka Legion, and the community, honoured veterans who put their lives on the line for Canada.

Air Cadet Cpl. Aiden Emlaw places a candle on a headstone Wednesday

Air Cadet Cpl. Aiden Emlaw places a candle on a headstone Wednesday

Members of the Ponoka Legion, along with youths from the Air Cadets, students involved with the Broncs World Tour and families of past veterans took part in a Candlelight Tribute Ceremony on Wednesday, Oct. 7 intended to honour passed veterans.

The ceremony originally started in the Netherlands in 1995 and was meant to honour Canadian soldiers who liberated the country in 1945 during the Second World War. The Ponoka Legion has taken part in the ceremony for the last several years. One of the interesting aspects of the night, said Broncs World Tour organizer Ron Labrie, was that there was a strong number of youths who attended.

His social studies students, who are researching Ponoka veterans killed in action from past wars in what is called the Cenotaph Project took part in the ceremony. “It’s trying to model what happens in the Netherlands,” said Labrie.

“It’s a small, yet important act of remembrance,” he added.

Air Cadet commanding officer Capt. Tracy Fiedler said the evening was optional for the air cadets but many of them attended the ceremony. “One of the things I think is really important is the youths understand our history,” she added.

She said taking part in these tributes will create a legacy of remembrance for the younger generations. Indeed, Flt. Sgt. Sarah Nicholson said the night created a bond with everyone who attended.

“I like the unity that I felt with everyone,” said Nicholson.

Not only is she an air cadet, but she is also taking part in the Broncs World Tour. She said citizenship is a big part of the cadets program.

“It felt really good to honour those people that died for us,” said Nicholson.

Lily Raugust is another high school student taking part in the tour. For her, attending the ceremony made her feel respectful.

“Standing in front of the tombstone of a person you don’t know is moving,” added student Lindsey Gartner.

Part of the ceremony included lighting candles on past veterans’ tombstones with the Act of Remembrance being recited. There was a minute of silence after the playing of the Last Post, which was then followed with the Rouse and Lament.

Bringing youths was a key part of the ceremony, so a representative from the cadets and the high school each laid a wreath on behalf of the youth of Canada. The singing of O Canada closed out the ceremony.