An honour guard marched up to the steps of the Alberta legislature Friday for a ceremony to mark the 93rd anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge during the First World War.
They were inspected by Doug Horner, Alberta's deputy premier, who then spoke to the assembled troops about the need to remember military sacrifices.
"The message to the honour guard was a thank you," Horner said later. "The message for Albertans is that given we've lost the last veteran of the Great War — of World War I — and it's important for all Albertans and Canadians that we educate ourselves about what they went through and what they did."
The last known Canadian veteran of the First World War, John Babcock, passed away Feb. 18, at the age of 109.
A Book of Reflection will be available in the legislature rotunda through Monday evening for people to sign "to signify their commitment to remembering," Horner said.
Susan Ziegler took advantage of the opportunity Friday morning. Both her grandfathers fought in the First World War. One was at the battle at Vimy Ridge.
"That's where he was shot in the ear," she told CBC News. "He was slightly gassed, he got trench fever and still he managed to come out alive.
"I just finished researching his war history, and I thought it would be fitting to come today and pay tribute to my grandpa."
When she was a teen, she would often visit her grandfather to listen to his stories, she said.
"What those men went through was totally horrendous, and … everybody should never forget about what they did," she said.
The Book of Reflection will be available for signing in the afternoons on the weekend and again all day Monday. There's also a website where people can share their thoughts.
"I can't even imagine the type of courage it would have taken to go over the top [ of the trenches]" said Horner, who called the loss of the last First World War veteran "a poignant moment in Canada's history."