Residents and veterans gathered at cenotaphs around the Okanagan on Saturday morning to commemorate Remembrance Day.
In Penticton, around 400 people assembled at Veterans Memorial Park, one of two ceremonies held in the South Okanagan city, with the other taking place indoors at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.
The weather was brisk on Saturday morning, but as one person who attended the outdoor ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park said, “every war they’ve fought in has been pretty ugly outside.”
At 11 a.m., two minutes of silence took place — a brief moment of reflection for those who died fighting for Canada and those who served and continue to serve.
The time also marks when the First World War ended on Nov. 11, 1918.
“I remember all my comrades,” said veteran Fred MacDonald, 91, who served in Korea.
He said his brother was killed in Korea, as were many of his comrades, and that he was also injured, but that he “kept on going.”
“It seems like each year, there’s more people showing up all the time in numbers. That’s good because it shows that there is gratitude and thanks for what people did for them many years ago, losing their lives and everything. That’s important.”
MacDonald’s daughter, Ruth Burke, said his dad enjoys the outdoor ceremony, saying “he finds it more meaningful. He likes to come to remember his brother.”
Prior to Saturday’s ceremonies, the City of Penticton displayed street banners in the downtown core of six former servicemen who died in either the First or Second World Wars.
The communities of Summerland, Okanagan Falls, Oliver, Osoyoos, Princeton, Keremeos and Grand Forks also held Remembrance Day ceremonies.
Elsewhere, more than 1,000 showed up in Kelowna to attend the Remembrance Day ceremony at the cenotaph in City Park.
“The turnout is amazing,” said Lt.-Col. Trevor Waaga of the. B.C Dragoons. “With the Okanagan weather, waking up this morning, I was thinking the turnout wouldn’t be as good. But shortly before the ceremony, the rain stopped, the sun came out and so did all the people.”
In the Central Okanagan, ceremonies also took place in Rutland, West Kelowna, Lake Country and Peachland.
In the North Okanagan, Vernon held an indoor gathering at Kal Tire Place. Ceremonies also took place in Coldstream, Enderby, Armstrong, Lumby and Salmon Arm.
Waaga said soldiers of the B.C. Dragoons attended 16 Remembrance Day ceremonies across the Okanagan Valley.
“It’s definitely important to remember,” said Waaga, “to keep the memories alive of those who sacrified so much for us. With remembering, it gives us the chance to not repeat the mistakes of the past and build a better world for the future.”
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