Whistler Remembrance Day ceremony marks 100 years since the end of the First World War 

Annual ceremony drew over 1,200 to honour those who serve

click to enlarge WHISTLER REMEMBERS: Whistler resident Anne Townley delivers the Act of Remembrance speech at this year's Remembrance Day ceremony, marking 100 years since the end of the First World War, held at the cenotaph at Whistler Olympic Plaza.
  • WHISTLER REMEMBERS: Whistler resident Anne Townley delivers the Act of Remembrance speech at this year's Remembrance Day ceremony, marking 100 years since the end of the First World War, held at the cenotaph at Whistler Olympic Plaza.

Over 1,200 people filled Whistler Olympic Plaza on Sunday morning for a Remembrance Day ceremony commemorating a century since the end of the First World War.

Although Whistler has held an annual Remembrance Ceremony since the mid-1980s to honour those who have perished and suffered in armed conflict, "This year, 2018, holds an even greater importance in our history of remembrance," read Anne Townley from the Act of Remembrance speech written anonymously for this year's ceremony.

"We mark the solemnity and historical significance of this exact moment in time," she continued. "At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, one hundred years ago, the guns went silent, the killing stopped, armistice was formalized and the First World War was ended."

Those in attendance-including several veterans and active military members, as well as firefighters, police officers and other first responders-gathered around Whistler's cenotaph on a sunny November day to join Canadians across the country in honouring those who served in the First World War and the numerous conflicts since.

As the Act of Remembrance detailed, the First World War, "was not, in fact, the war to end all wars but only the first of the worst."

It, "was the planet's first conflict waged as total warfare-warfare on an industrial scale never seen before, warfare waged, eventually, by 32 nations who fought each other on battlefields and oceans across the globe," the speech continued.

Townley's reading of the Act of Remembrance followed the Veterans' Parade, as well as performances of traditional songs of remembrance by the Whistler Singers and Whistler Children's Chorus.

The ceremony program followed tradition with a performance of The Last Post and The Rouse, a helicopter fly past from Blackcomb Aviation and a cannon firing, as well poetry readings by local students and a presentation of wreaths from military personnel and first responders, community groups and local families, before the event concluded with a community reception.

During the ceremony, the Act of Remembrance speech also reminded attendees about the one million brave young Canadians who stepped forward to serve in a war at a time when Canada was just beginning to forge its own identity.

"Many commentators point to the crucible of the First World War as the stage upon which Canada became Canada, no longer just an independent colony of Britain," read Townley, who then called on attendees to, "Remember the loss, the suffering, the long recovery, the commitment of our great grandfathers and grandfathers, uncles, aunts, mothers and children, all our forbearers who contributed so greatly to building this country."

Though the lessons of the First World War may have been initially learned a century ago, the Act of Remembrance speech urged those in attendance not to forget them.

"Today, with the rise of nationalistic fervour in many countries of the world similar to that which presaged the First World War, we gather in remembrance, to that history, to our forbearers, to the lessons learned and hopefully not forgotten," it read.

This year marked Whistler's second Remembrance Day service to take place in Whistler Olympic Plaza, since moving the cenotaph ahead of the 2017 ceremony in an effort to accommodate the growing crowds. It was also the first organized by Steve LeClair, with community support, since taking the reigns from longtime organizer Brian Buchholz.

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