The importance of recognizing Remembrance Day

At the 11th hour of the 11th day in the 11th month, the guns of the First World War fell silent. Sadly, it wasn't the war to end all wars, as the world had been promised; many more wars followed WW2, some of which are still raging today.

Canada has been marking Remembrance Day since 1919 and in British Columbia it's a statutory holiday. The number of veterans from the two World Wars may be dwindling, but the Royal Canadian Legion Coquitlam Branch is determined that they be remembered, along with veterans of more recent conflicts.

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"Without all the sacrifices that our veterans went through, our world would look a lot different today," says Bob Chapman, First Vice President of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 263. "Even now, our military personnel who are going overseas to fight or keep the peace must be remembered for their contributions and dedication."

Remembrance Day is an important time for Legions across the country, but the work starts weeks before with the Poppy Appeal.

"All the money raised from the sale of poppies is kept in the community," Bob notes. "We use the funds over the course of the year to support our veterans, both old and young. We also recognize the contributions of our police officers and first responders, as they're also eligible to apply to us for help."

The day itself starts with a ceremony at the local school.

"It's generally well attended by the community," Bob says, "and then we have a parade over to our small cenotaph in Coquitlam. There are usually several cadet bands, and the pipe band from Simon Fraser University joins us."

After a brief service and two minutes of silence to remember the sacrifices of veterans here and abroad, the surviving veterans, local politicians, Legion members and the general public march back to the Legion on Ridgeway Avenue.

"There was a lot of evil during the World Wars," Bob says. "It's important that we remember what our men and women went through for us- and that we acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of the generations of armed forces since who have fought for our country."

For further information on the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 263 and Remembrance Day activities, call 604.937.3863, stop by 1025 Ridgeway Avenue, Coquitlam, email or visit the website at. The Royal Canadian Legion in Coquitlam can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

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