By Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye
It was a colder than expected night and a soft rain began to fall, adding a feeling of loneliness to the somber mood at the Ponoka Legion’s candlelight ceremony on Oct. 5.
Each year at the Forest Home Cemetery the legion brings together students, air cadets and legionnaires to remember fallen soldiers. The ceremony was adopted from the Netherlands in 1995, commemorating their liberation by Canadian soldiers from German occupation. Dutch children placed candles on soldiers’ graves and held a moment of silence in tribute.
People who came to this ceremony placed candles in the Field of Honour and rows of lights could be seen throughout the cemetery. Members of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets Squadron assisted legion members light candles and then stood at attention during the playing of Last Post, Reveille and Lament.
Past Legion president Dorothy Houghton said this is their fourth year hosting the ceremony and they have always invited students and air cadets to join in remembering Canadian soldiers. Student attendance has increased over the years and Houghton felt it a good sign to see more younger people at the ceremony.
Air cadet Sgt. Matthew Granson said being a part of the ceremony brings cadets back to their heritage and what freedom comes from. An air cadet and student representative laid wreaths as an act of remembrance during the ceremony just as the rain started to fall. There was a moment of silence as people looked to the Canadian flag, which was lit by headlights from a lone vehicle.
Afterward, participants were invited to the Ponoka Legion hall to warm up with some coffee and a light lunch.
“They fought for us so we could live in a peaceful country,” said PCHS student Danielle Wombold, who skipped out on watching a volleyball game to come to the ceremony.
Another student, Megan Falkiner, had relatives in war, “It feels right to pay respect to them and everyone else.”
PCHS social studies teacher Ron Labrie brought students to the ceremony and thanked the legion for inviting them to join and remember with the legion.