A cadet stands vigil during the 2018 Fort Langley Remembrance Day service. (Langley Advance Times files)

Fort Langley set to welcome 20th Remembrance Day service

From two people to several thousand, the event has grown tremendously

Fort Langley’s Remembrance Day service this year includes a piper, veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members, and a flypast by the Fraser Blues aircraft team.

The procession this year begins at 10:25 a.m. at the west end of the Fort Langley Cemetery, near the intersection of St. Andrew’s and Nash Streets.

A piper and colour party will lead veterans, active members of the Canadian Forces, clergy, RCMP, cadets, Langley Township Fire Department members, elected officials, Kwantlen elders, and members of the Scouting and Guiding movements.

They will make their way toward the cenotaph on the gravel and grass paths inside the cemetery, passing by the almost 300 graves of veterans.

The service officially begins at 10:40 a.m., but visitors are advised to come earlier, as the fenced cemetery typically hosts a large crowd.

There is reserved parking for veterans, the elderly, and disabled visitors at St. Andrew’s Church at 9025 Glover Road.

The annual event has recently been joined by another tradition – on a weekend before the service, local members of Scout groups have taken it upon themselves to clean the graves of veterans in the cemetery.

READ MORE: ‘These kids are jumping at the opportunity to help out in their community’

A joint effort of the Fort Langley Remembrance Day Committee and the Fort Langley Lions Club, the annual service now draws thousands of people. But for many years, there was no service at the Fort’s cenotaph.

READ MORE: Remembrance Day ceremony had humble beginnings

But on Nov. 11 1999, 20 years ago, Second World War veteran Gord Gillard walked into the Fort Gallery, upset that there was nothing happening at one of the community’s first cenotaphs, which stood next to a veteran’s cemetery.

The gallery’s Brenda Alberts joined him for an impromptu service of two at 11 a.m. that day.

Alberts assured Gillard there would be a proper service the following year, and there was.

The two helped organize the first few events, which have passed to other hands even as they grew.

Both Gillard and Alberts have since passed away.

Fort LangleyLangleyRemembrance Day

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Township councillor David Davis and acting mayor Blair Whitmarsh lay a wreath. (Langley Advance Times files)

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