remembrance 

Lest we forget By Andrew Mitchell As we sit in the comfort of our homes, sometimes it's easy to forget that the peace we enjoy has a price. Through five wars and numerous peace-keeping missions, more than 1.4 million Canadian soldiers have served. Over 116,000 young men and women have been killed and more than 200,000 have been wounded. Every year on Nov. 11, communities across Canada are asked to observe a minute of silence to honour and remember the sacrifices made by those who died and by Canada's 500,000 living war veterans. This year, the Royal Canadian Legion is asking for participants to observe a special two-minute "Wave of Silence" to mark the end of the century, "the most violent era in human history." "Over the years, as the number of survivors diminishes, the scale of formal Remembrance Day commemorations has been shrinking. At the edge of a new millennium, we must pause and reflect on the human cost of war, and perhaps by remembering, avoid such tragedies in the future," according to the Legion. Every year for the past 18 years, Whistler has observed Remembrance Day with a special service at the Cenotaph outside the firehall, beginning with a Parade of Colours up Village Gate Boulevard. Between eight and 15 veterans traditionally march in the parade, including any veterans who are here temporarily at a conference or on vacation and wish to be a part of the ceremony. Active members of the military will also be on hand. Brian Buchholz, a Whistler firefighter whose father served overseas during the second World War, is the chief organizer and Master of Ceremonies for the service. He took over the job from Jim Scribner, a local Vietnam veteran, three years ago and is determined to carry on the tradition to ensure that the reasons for Remembrance Day are not forgotten. "There's always a discussion leading up to Remembrance Day," says Buchholz. "Do we remember? Do the children realize the significance of November 11? I've talked to some of the younger kids on previous years and they seem to be very well aware on the most part of what the eleventh represents." The Parade of Colours begins at 10:45 on Thursday morning, and is followed by Buchholz' opening remarks. The ceremony will include the Whistler Singers and the Children's Chorus, local Bugler Gary Ozawa, the traditional firing of the gun, a fly-over by Blackcomb Helicopters, a prayer by Reverend Barb Gilday and the Placing of Wreaths. After the service, refreshments will be served at the firehall, courtesy of the Whistler Rotary Club and the Whistler Firefighters Association. For Lawrence Perry, the owner and operator of Blackcomb Helicopters and a former soldier in the British Army, the fly-over is a chance to show his support. "I believe in the eleventh," says Perry. "We don't want to forget these folks who have fought and died for their country. And we especially don't want to forget the people who are in the service right now. It's tough to keep mindful of them when everything's so lovely here, but the fact is that there are a lot of soldiers who aren't coming home this Christmas, and a lot of families are going to be separated. And this is in peacetime." If you're a veteran and wish to march in the parade, or if you wish to lay a wreath following the ceremony, contact Brian Buchholz through the fire department. For more information on Remembrance Day or the Wave of Silence, visit the Legion website at www.legion.ca.

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