Large turnout for Remembrance Day

JASON HEWLETT / Kamloops Daily News
November 12, 2012 01:00 AM

RCMP members march through downtown during a Remembrance Day parade on Sunday.

The city's appreciation and respect for its soldiers past and present was on full display at Riverside Park as thousands of people attended the Remembrance Day ceremony.

The size of the gathering, which some in attendance Sunday morning believed was the biggest yet, impressed veterans and residents alike.

"There's more people coming all the time, which is good," said Archie Henderson of the Kamloops Naval Veterans Association.

Henderson comes from a long line of soldiers, a "family that loves to fight." His father was a professional soldier, his brothers-in-law fought in the Second World War, and he has a nephew who's done three tours of duty in Afghanistan.

He spent 17 years in the navy and, if he were younger, Henderson would be in Afghanistan, he said.

With Henderson was Navy League of Kamloops cadet Michael Benard. Together, they placed a wreath at the base of the cenotaph in memory of fallen soldiers.

Benard joined the navy league out of curiosity and says it's interesting and fun. He's interested enough to consider joining the navy when he gets older.

He believes Remembrance Day is a good time to pay respect to the soldiers who have lost their lives.

"It's an important thing to do," said Benard.

Cpl. Charlie McGrath of the Rocky Mountain Rangers thinks so too. He's been with the reserve regiment for six years and served in Afghanistan. He didn't see any action, but being in the war zone changed him.

"It was an experience," he said, but didn't elaborate. "We should never forget, or take our freedom, for granted."

His duty on Remembrance Day was to escort the family of Master Cpl. Erin Doyle, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2008. Doyle, a former Rocky Mountain Ranger, recently had his name added to the Battle Street cenotaph.

The procession of veterans received applause and a standing ovation from many of the spectators at the start of the ceremony.

For the first time, there were bleachers for people to sit. Many huddled together against the cold. Hundreds of others stood and stomped their feet or rubbed their hands to keep warm.

Kyle Goodman and his family come every year. He and his wife, Aleisha, met as cadets, and believe serving your country is important, he said.

Gary Horsman was impressed with the turnout. Every year attendance grows, which shows Kamloops cares about its veterans, he said.

"It's a respectful thing to do, to come down and appreciate the people who did what most of us would have a hard time doing," said Horsman.

Second World War veteran Alex Sim said more people attend the ceremony every year. He said the vets appreciate the support.

"It's unbelievable," he said.

The event included a flypast by the 419 Squadron at 11:04 a.m. and ended with a military parade along Victoria Street.

A ceremony was also held on the Tk'emlups Indian reserve. Tk'emlups spokesman Nacoma George said 75 to 100 people were expected to attend, including Alan Manuel, the band's last surviving Second World War veteran.

© Copyright 2015 Kamloops Daily News

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