As the sun set its way down and the cold evening crept in, candles lit the night and warmed the hearts of participants in a candlelight vigil.
The vigil, held Oct. 12 at Forest Home Cemetery, was hosted by the Ponoka Legion with participation from members of the Ponoka Air Cadets and Ponoka Secondary Campus (PSC) students involved in the Broncs World Tour.
Aimed at remembering Canadian soldiers who liberated the Netherlands from occupation during the Second World War, the vigil — which started in the Netherlands in 1995 — and has found its way to Canada. The Ponoka Legion has hosted the ceremony for several years now.
Sgt. Johnathan Wessel-Ford has been with the Air Cadets for the last four years and this ceremony, being his fourth to take part in, has affected him in a positive way over that time. “I think it’s just really important for today’s youths to remember the past.”
When he was younger, the importance of remembrance was not something he thought much about but that has changed over the years. Wessel-Ford credits the ceremony as one of the events that has molded his perspective.
Legion president Sybil Evans offered her thanks to the Air Cadets and the Broncs World Tour, led by social studies teacher Ron Labrie. “It certainly keeps us focused,” said Evans.
Because of strong involvement from the cadets and students, Evans said Legion members are planning a big trip to Europe next year and will be touring special memorial sites.
Grade 11 student Josh Johnson has taken to researching fallen soldiers as part of the PSC cenotaph project. His research has become quite detailed. In that time it has opened up a new understanding of what it took to be a soldier.
“Working on these soldiers, I feel an almost duty to them,” explained Johnson.
The research is opening up whole lives that help paint a picture of who they were and what they gave up to serve Canada in the First and Second World Wars.
The ceremony is an important part of that research. “I think that just adds to the whole remembrance aspect,” said Johnson, adding that he hopes to see as many memorials as possible, including the grave site of the soldier he is researching.
Evans added her thanks to organizers and attendees for putting in the time for the candlelight vigil.