Organizers of the third annual Murrayville Remembrance Day ceremony were pleased to find a crisp autumn morning without a drop of rain on Monday, Nov. 11.
By the time the procession began down the cemetery path at 10:30 a.m., the historic grounds were with families, veterans, scouts, girl guides, cadets, and volunteers all standing shoulder to shoulder.
With 300 people attending the first year and 700 at the second, Murrayville committee member Rosemary Genberg was confident in stating that the relatively new ceremony appears to be growing.
“It’s lot bigger than last year. More children too, which is what we wanted – to bring out young children and youth to get involved and remember,” Genberg said.
Young community members certainly did make up a large portion of the program, the 746 Lightning Hawk Royal Canadian Air Cadets led the procession with local Boy Scouts and Girl Guides troops not far behind.
Students from Langley Fundamental School and James Hill School cleaned headstones days before and placed Canadian flags on each fallen soldier’s grave.
Children also made up a large portion of the crowd simply there to remember and pay tribute.
Colten and Taryn Lifton were there with their grandmother Sharleen to lay a wreath in memory great grandfather Leslie Stevens – he fought in the Second World War with the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve (RCNVR).
“We’re here to honour to our great grandfather and pay our respects,” Colten said, having taken part in the Murrayville ceremony to honour Stevens, who passed away in 2008, since 2017.
Multiple wreaths were next to the cenotaph by scout troops, members of the Langley school board and the RCMP.
Krystal McEwan led the crowd in O Canada and Amazing Grace while bugler Brian Parkinson performed Last Post and piper John McCallum in the ceremony’s lament.
Genberg felt one of the most impactful moments was the reading of In Flanders Fields by John McCrae, additionally done at the ceremony in sign language.
“The signing was special,” Genberg said. “It was meaningful, and all together a lovely celebration that was interdenominational and for everybody.”
Additionally, Coun. Bob Long read the poem The Parade Ground Beneath Our Feet by Aldergrove resident Fred Dalkeith, while committee member Kirby Adams read a prayer written by master of ceremonies Grace Muller.
Genberg recited the words of Last Post, and said she and the committee will likely make a couple tweaks in the future, but continue to hold the ceremony, given the increase of attendees.
“I hope people are remembering the past and cherishing our future,” Genberg added as the ceremony concluded and poppies were placed upon the Murrayville cenotaph.
“Be thankful and go home with memories and feeling prideful honour.” she continued.
The ceremony ran from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. with coffee, cookies, and conversation following at the United Church at 216th & 48th street (Murrayville five corners).
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