Soldiers honoured in Candlelight Ceremony

Each year members of the Ponoka Legion, Air Cadets and students with the Broncs World Tour honour veterans

Air Cadet Cpl. Carter Brouilette helped light candles at gravestones at Forest Home Cemetery Wednesday

Air Cadet Cpl. Carter Brouilette helped light candles at gravestones at Forest Home Cemetery Wednesday

Each year members of the Ponoka Legion, Air Cadets and students with the Broncs World Tour honour veterans who have passed on during a Candlelight Tribute ceremony.

The commemoration was held on a cold and windy Wednesday, Oct. 8, at Forest Home Cemetery just as the sun set over the horizon.

Members of the Legion were inspired by a 1995 ceremony held in the Netherlands where Dutch children placed candles on the graves of Canadian soldiers.

This was to honour the liberation of the Netherlands by Canadian soldiers 50 years earlier, during the Second World War. The Ponoka Legion’s goal is to honour Ponoka soldiers and to engage youths in its history. Legion president Sybil Evans feels this event reminds people that the efforts of soldiers in the past were not wasted.

“I think there’s a real swing now that the young people are more interested than they were 20 or even 30 years ago,” Evans added.

She suggests the Broncs World Tour program helps drive interest and she added that St. Augustine Catholic School also hosts Remembrance Day activities. “I think our town is very lucky that way.”

The Broncs World Tour is led by Ron Labrie, social studies teacher at Ponoka Secondary Campus and he feels this is a good opportunity for his students and helps set the stage for the tour. “This is more of the formal cenotaph introduction to it.”

He believes there are approximately 300 military graves in Ponoka and this gives students a taste of what the tour will be like.

Warrant Officer Casey Cohoe of the Ponoka Air Cadets feels attending the ceremony is an important aspect to their job. “It shows that we care for our fallen soldiers.”

He suggests being at the cemetery gives cadets a strong visual reminder of the efforts of past soldiers and sacrifices they made for Canadians.

While the candles lit the gravestones, the Act of Remembrance was read, followed by the Last Post and a minute of silence.