The horrors and honours of war have more than November 11 for remembrance. The Prince George Cemetery will hear the peels of the bugle on Sunday as the collection of local military support organizations pays tribute to our city's fallen in the place they were laid to rest.
"It brings Remembrance Day issues to the front of people's minds," said Capt. Wally McCue, commander of the Rocky Mountain Rangers cadet corps. "We feel that remembering the fallen and those who served is not a one-day thing. This brings attention to the veterans interred at our cemetery, it brings a sense of location to that side of our city's history, and it is just the right thing to do."
The Sunday ceremony - a military church parade - is a staple in many nations of the Commonwealth, but is rarely done in this part of Canada. This will be the third annual holding of the ceremony in Prince George. It commences at 10:30 a.m. and is expected to last about an hour.
It will include the army cadets, sea and air cadets, the navy league, the Royal Canadian Legion, RCMP and City of Prince George as organizing partners.
Prior to the ceremony, cadets went through the cemetery with the most current list of grave locations where veterans are laid to rest. Almost all on the list are Canadians, but some served with other nations like Great Britain or the United States. About 80 graves received a Canadian flag and a salute from the cadets.
"There were also other graves pointed out by city staff, more than we knew have been identified as being veterans, and deserving of honour. They aren't interred all in one place, they are all over the cemetery grounds," McCue said. "It would be a fascinating project to study who all in our cemetery is a military veteran, even those from other countries. Every nation is part of our Canadian story."
The same organizing partners are also sending contingents to elders' complexes in the lead-up to Remembrance Day, to show respect for those who may not be able to attend the formal civic events on Nov. 11. They will be at Gateway Lodge on Nov. 8 and The Chateau on Nov. 9 performing a miniature version of the Remembrance Day ceremonies. Cadets will also read First World War-era poetry and hand out poppies.
The grand proceedings on the Nov. 11 holiday will begin at 9:15 a.m. at the Civic Centre, complete with pipes and drums, full military colour party, the Prince George Community Band, and the presenting of commemorative wreaths. The featured speaker this year is from the Prince George Aboriginal Veterans organization and the national theme is the Year of the Korean War Veteran.
At 10:35, the mass will parade from the Civic Centre to the cenotaph at City Hall for the playing of Last Post and Reveille and the two minutes of silence that honours all victims and veterans of war.
A youth-focused reception will happen at the Connaught Youth Centre and an adult/veteran reception is set for the Civic Centre once the formal outdoor ceremonies are finished.