Honouring sacrifice on Remembrance Day 

Whistler's first ever Veterans Week Nov. 5 to 11

click to enlarge PHOTO BY GAVIN REED - Lest we forget Veterans march in Whistler during the 2012 Remembrance Day service. This year the event begins at 10:30 a.m. at the resort's Cenotaph, located by Fire Hall #1.
  • Photo by Gavin Reed
  • Lest we forget Veterans march in Whistler during the 2012 Remembrance Day service. This year the event begins at 10:30 a.m. at the resort's Cenotaph, located by Fire Hall #1.

Going into his 18th year organizing Whistler's Remembrance Day ceremony, Brian Buchholz is still touched by the community's continued support of veterans, especially considering the resort is without a legion, drill hall or cadet corps to call its own.

"It's very heartening," he said. "The time of our Great Wars is in the rearview mirror, but it doesn't seem to matter... The turnout and the true heartfelt feeling out community seems to have for our veterans is encouraging, and it's part of the satisfaction I get from putting this service together."

The community will join current and retired members of Canada's Armed Forces for the service, with "a higher military presence" at this year's ceremony, said Buchholz. Members from Vancouver naval base HMCS Discovery, the 39 Canadian Brigade Group, as well as several U.S. vets will be in attendance.

This Monday, Nov. 11, beginning at 10:30 a.m. at the Cenotaph (located at Whistler Fire Hall #1 on Village Gate Boulevard), the service will include the parade, poetry readings, the laying of wreaths and a helicopter salute and fly past.

"It's very emotional if you're there on the day," said Buchholz. "Blackcomb Aviation does a helicopter fly by... You hear these helicopters at low elevations echoing and thundering off the buildings, and I've seen it for 18 years and it always gives me a chill."

Among those honoured in Buchholz's Act of Remembrance speech will be the soldiers who fought in the Korean War, which ended 60 years ago. Sometimes called "The Forgotten War," tens of thousands of Canadians served during the three-year war, with 516 losing their lives.

With several resort students reading poetry, Whistler Girl Guides serving as the honourary wreath bearers and songs by Whistler Singers and Children's Chorus, Buchholz has made every effort to involve the community in the service, and local youth in particular.

"I try to get as many young people involved as possible," he said. "It is very much a community-focused effort."

This year also marks the first time Whistler's mayor has declared Nov. 5 through 11 as Veterans' Week, following in the footsteps of the federal and provincial government.

"It's a real authentic community event and it's a meaningful get together," said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden after the council meeting this week.

According to the University of Ottawa's Centre for International Policy Studies, nearly 116,000 Canadians lost their lives in war and peacekeeping efforts dating back to the Boer War. This includes 158 Canadians killed in Afghanistan. Over 2,000 Canadian soldiers were wounded in the same conflict.

In Pemberton, the Veterans' Parade leaves from the Fire Hall at 1350 Aster Street, and continues to the Royal Canadian Legion on Prospect Street, followed by a Remembrance Day ceremony beginning at 11 a.m.

The Squamish Remembrance Day ceremony starts at 10:30 a.m. at the Brennan Park Recreation Centre, followed by a visit to the Cenotaph at Stan Clarke Park downtown.

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