A group of World War veterans marched down Fraser Highway to the Aldergrove cenotaph in front of the Royal Canadian Legion 265. (Sarah Grochowski photo)

Aldergrove sees Centurion tank, tears, and war veterans march

An estimated 2,500 people paid their respects at the Aldergrove cenotaph on Nov. 11

It was a higher than usual turnout at this year’s Remembrance Day services in Aldergrove, with initial calculations at a crowd of 2,500.

A group of World War veterans marched down Fraser Highway to the Aldergrove cenotaph in front of the Royal Canadian Legion 265.

And those who could not march sat in wheelchairs or stood with their walkers, as the public applauded Aldergrove’s veterans and first responders.

They were followed by Langley RCMP, Township firefighters, politicians, local cadets, girl guides, and scouts.

Some of those who attended the Monday parade and ceremony morning gushed over the local reveal of Tina the tank – a rare Centurion combat vehicle from the Korean War, having been transported to Langley just a day prior.

Director of the Museum of the Armed Forces where the tank will now reside, Ian Newby, wrote a thank-you note on the side of the tank in chalk.

“Welcome home,” the message read. “Thanks,” to the team of supply chain providers and Township councillors who advocated for its transport to the West Coast.

“The tank would be familiar to veterans of the Vietnam War as well,” said Newby. “It says ‘welcome home’ because no soldiers from that era were ever told that.”

The ceremony was led by Rev. Paul Guiton, who noted the significance of this year, being the 75th anniversary of Canadian troops landing on France’s Juno Beach, outfitted for war.

D-Day, as it is now called, was a time where Canadian soldiers ran up the beach and towards the firing of heavy German artillery.

“What kind of motivation does it take to run forward when people are shooting at you?” Guiton questioned rhetorically, noting the enlisted-by-choice nature of the troops.

The public honoured their bravery by attending the ceremony on Nov. 11 and paying their respects, the reverend said.

Another way Guiton said – is by “doing things we really don’t want to do” like stepping up to “protect the values that those brave men fought for” during World War Two.

The roar of several planes, including the Fraser Blues formation flying team, added to the words of scripture and a poetry recited aloud by veteran Pat Brady.

RELATED: Aldergrove eagles soar likes planes in Remembrance Day sky

Twenty families and family members laid wreaths at the cenotaph in honour of their dearly departed loved ones, including those who have served in the military.

Girl guide members added their poppies to the wreath that newly elected Langley-Aldergrove Tako van Popta, laid on behalf of the Government of Canada.

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