Recent History – 2005
By Gary Rusak – 4 November 2005
Every seat in Unchagah Hall was occupied and many people lined the walls for the annual Remembrance Day ceremony presented under the auspices of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 141 on Friday morning. At 10:55 a.m. the March on The Colours began as the packed auditorium hushed to silence. The Last Post followed the national anthem and at precisely 11 a.m. the gathered observed a moment of silence. The Lament broke the respectful silence.
Ron Allen, on behalf of Prince George-Peace River MP Jay Hill, began The Laying of Wreaths followed by MLA Blair Lekstrom, Mayor Wayne Dahlen, and past president of the Dawson Creek Legion Bud Melin. More than 30 wreaths were deposited on the temporary monument with the words “Lest We Forget” inscribed on it. Each representative’s name and organization was announced as they paid tribute to the fallen.
Salvation Army Captain Roger Lee then conducted a short sermon that emphasized the significance of the occasion.
“The last thing I want to do today is foster myths of superiority,” said Lee describing how blame for the tragedy of war should not be confined to one group or culture.
“Yes, the two major wars of the last century found Germany our enemy and France our ally. But, if you push that a century earlier you would find the situation reversed. Labels, like enemy and ally, change in a twinkling. The capacity for humanity to sin is universal.”
Lee continued with a theological perspective on war and sacrifice. “Today on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month time stands still for a moment and we remember those who died for a world that will be free and at peace,” he said. “We are here to remember and not let die the memory of those valiant people.”
The hymn Abide With Me then filled the hall as the gathered arose. After a stirring rendition of God Save The Queen, the Colour Party marched up the centre aisle and the service was concluded. A sizeable contingent of Legion members and dignitaries then took advantage of the sunny, crisp morning and proceeded to march through the downtown streets to the Cenotaph at City Hall.
Members of the local Air Cadets Squadron 353 solemnly stood at the monument as the local veterans arrived and deposited wreaths on the monument.
The Remembrance Day ceremonies concluded with a lunch at the Legion Hall.