A PSC student and a Ponoka Air Cadet pause for reflection after each placing a wreath in remembrance of the many fallen Canadian soldiers involved in various conflicts during the candlelight vigil Oct. 11. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Annual candlelight ceremony about creating greater awareness

Candlelight vigil at Ponoka cemetery helps youths in remembering country’s past

A vigil designed to encourage youths to look further into Canada’s history with war continues to shed light on the sacrifices made in various conflicts.

The candlelight vigil, where youths and other members of the public place candles on the gravestones of soldiers at Ponoka’s Forest Home cemetery, took place on Oct. 11 this year with about 175 candles set out.

Members of 65 Squadron Ponoka Air Cadets as well as students from Ponoka Secondary Campus (PSC) — most of whom are part of the Broncs World Tour — participated in the event, bundled up on the chilly and windy evening right alongside about 20 members of the public and Ponoka Royal Canadian Legion members.

The vigil was first organized a number of years ago by Legion member Dorothy Houghton, after reading of another Legion doing something to get youths involved.

“I’m really very pleased to see all of the youth that come out,” she said. “From the youth pledge to them laying wreaths, it is really nice to witness.”

The event goes back 22 years to the Netherlands as a way to remember Canadian soldiers that help liberate that country in Second World War. Houghton added that thanks to PSC social studies teacher Ron Labrie, many youths have come to learn about the many soldiers who fought for Canada and specifically those from the area.

Two Grade 11 students — Owen Feragen and Haylee Wiebe — both who are part of the world tour that will head to Europe next year as part of their class, wanted to be a part of the vigil ceremony to learn more about Canada’s war history.

“For me, my grandpa is a history buff and I like to learn about our past,” Feragen said, adding he can’t wait to take in some of the monuments in Europe.

“This is about our roots and gaining a better understanding about how we became the country that we are today.”

Wiebe agreed, in that having more knowledge regarding Canada’s history is important, but she also added, “Being able to head to the places in Europe where they fought and learn more about what exactly took place, how things were, is going to be all part of the experience that we can add to this.”

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