There was a reverent stillness among spectators as cadets, scouts, soldiers and veterans marched down Esquimalt Road in memory of those who served the country.
On Friday (Nov. 11) morning, hundreds gathered at the Memorial Park cenotaph in Esquimalt for the annual parade and ceremony, organized by Royal Canadian Legion Branch 172, to remember and honour Canada’s brave souls.
Hundreds of people, many in military uniforms, packed into the park surrounding the cenotaph as a parade of Canadian Armed Forces members, veterans, cadets, scouts and more marched into the park and stood in formation around the monument.
Among those attending the event to pay their respects was Jack Bates, a veteran who spent seven months deployed in Congo as a United Nations peacekeeper in 1961. Bates, who was born in Esquimalt and grew up in a military family, said he attends the event every year on Remembrance Day.
“I think it is very important not to forget the history of the conflicts, sacrifices and family members who served in the Canadian Armed Forces,” he said. “The institution of the military is to protect your interests, both in times of war and peace.”
View Royal Fire Chief Paul Hurst, who attended the event, said this year’s turnout was the largest he’s ever seen at Memorial Park in Esquimalt.
“This year’s turnout is just incredible,” he said.
About 116,000 Canadian soldiers have lost their lives in wars ranging from the Second Boer War in South Africa to Afghanistan. The deadliest conflict in Canadian history was the First World War, which saw 68,000 Canadians killed in action.
In all, more than 1,400 communities across Canada held ceremonies on Friday, remembering those who served the country.
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