Crowds gather to mark Remembrance Day across British Columbia
Monday marks 101 years since the end of the First World War
Thousands gathered at cenotaphs and war memorials across British Columbia Monday morning to honour those who've served or made the ultimate sacrifice as part of Canada's military.
At Victory Square in Vancouver, two trumpets played the Last Post, their solemn notes hanging in the cool air as the crowd stood in two minutes of silence.
Cameron Cathcart, director of ceremonies, told the crowd it was a moment in the ceremony when individual memories are rekindled and a time to honour the sacrifices of more than 45,000 Canadians who died during the Second World War fighting for freedom.
While the haunting song marked the end of the First World War, Cathcart said it has also become a symbol of each Remembrance Day since then, just like the poppy.
He asked the crowd to take the moment of silence to reflect on the wartime loss of loved ones or friends in battles or at home from injuries.
Korean War veteran Bill Newton, 89, said the ceremony is important for younger generations to understand that history.
"It's good to know our past history, how we got to where we're at,'' he said.
He has attended the ceremony every year for 33 years and says he tries not to get too down thinking about the war.
The service included performances of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah by the Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services Band, as well as a rendition of Maple Leaf Forever by the Bach Youth Choir and Sarabande.
The 15th field artillery regiment fired a 21-gun salute from Portside Park, and a flypast honoured the roughly 10,000 Canadian air crews who disappeared or died during the Second World War.
Dozens of wreaths were laid at the granite cenotaph at the end of the service. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan laid an official wreath on behalf of the Canadian government and Melanie Mark, B.C.'s Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, laid another wreath on behalf of the province.
The ceremony was followed by a parade through downtown Vancouver.
Community members also honoured Chinese-Canadian military veterans and Chinese Canadian pioneers at Chinatown's annual ceremony at 12:30 p.m. PT. Indigenous veterans held a ceremony and laid a wreath at Victory Square on Friday.
Ceremonies were also held in Victoria, Surrey, Merritt, Kelowna, New Westminster and other cities and towns across the province.
Premier John Horgan says in a statement that Remembrance Day is a time to reflect on the horrors of war, loved ones lost and the sacrifice of those who returned with injuries, both visible and invisible.
"For generations, Canadians have bravely risked their lives to protect ours. We must never forget their sacrifice. We must stand united against hate, violence and intolerance. And we must work together to build a more peaceful world," the premier said.
This year's Remembrance Day ceremony follows a major ceremony in France earlier this year marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day, when thousands of Canadian stormed the beaches of Normandy with their British and American allies to fight Nazi Germany.
Monday also marks exactly 101 years since the end of the First World War.
With files from the Canadian Press