Chatham-Kent residents participate in 150-hour vigil ahead of Remembrance Day

Up until Nov. 11 at 10:00 a.m. residents will take shifts standing around the cenotaph located in downtown Chatham.

Rev. Mark Sceviour organized the six day vigil to honour Canada's war veterans

Even in the rainy weather, community members took the time to reflect and thank those who have served the country. (Meg Roberts/CBC News)

People in Chatham-Kent are honouring those who have fought in war by participating in a 150 hour vigil leading up to Remembrance Day.

Up until November 11 at 10:00 a.m. residents will take shifts standing around the cenotaph located in downtown Chatham.

Rev. Mark Sceviour came up with the idea and with the help of Christ Church was able to make the vigil possible. (Meg Roberts/ CBC News )

Rev. Mark Sceviour, who is in training to become a military chaplain after spending years in the army, organized the six-day vigil. Sceviour says he has been thinking about the idea for a couple years and thought Canada's 150th anniversary year was the best time.

"We had fireworks on July 1 and we seemed to walk away and forget about it and I thought, hold on, Nov. 11 really marks the freedoms that we have ... I got to thinking maybe we could do more as a community," he said.

Members of Christ Church's choir stand around the cenotaph in Chatham after the service. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

The vigil started Sunday morning at 6:00 a.m., the Chatham-Kent Police Service Honour Guard took the first shift. Sceviour says he is shocked at the community support. Service groups, individuals and businesses have agreed to fill the entire 150 hours.

"I had a gentleman that said, 'I can't wait to be there at 3:00 a.m. because I want to soak myself in the moment realizing that there was someone in a war standing in the freezing cold at 3:00 a.m. for me,'" Sceviour said.

"That is exactly why we are standing."

Christ Church in Chatham, the regimental church of the Essex-Scottish Regiment is sponsoring the event. The church will be open around-the-clock for people standing at the cenotaph needing a hot drink or a washroom break.

Brenda Hutson is part of the church's choir and stood out front of the cenotaph following the day's service. Her grandfather fought in the First World War. 

"I just am very moved around this time of year and I just really feel that I can honour those that have gone before us," she said, wiping tears from her eyes. "It's not just lip service but we are actually doing something."

"I am proud of our church … And I am proud of our town that we are standing up and saying, 'hey, this is how we feel about our veterans,'" Hutson said.

Sceviour is not aware of any other municipality in Canada holding a vigil like the one in Chatham and is proud that his small community has embraced the idea.

"People gave up things that we can never comprehend so we can have this freedom … Leading up to the 11th, we, as a community are going to say 'Thank you.'"