The Royal Canadian Legion #26 Col. Moore Branch in Banff honoured Canada’s veterans and serving members Remembrance Day 2016Larry and Jane Gilman, residents of Banff, were two people present for the beginning and the end of the service.
“It is an important day,” said Jane Gilman.
In an interview with the Gilman’s outside the Legion as they awaited the return of the parade for the closing of the service, they said that each year the service gets smaller because each year there are less veterans still alive.
Jane Gilman’s own uncle was in World War II.
Jane Gilman said her hope is that veterans will respectfully be remembered, and that these services will continue to be held – not as a celebration but as an “honour.”
The parade, which could be heard by the sounds of the Calgary Police Service Pipe Band, left the Legion shortly after 10:30 a.m. and marched down Banff Avenue to the Banff Elementary School for two minutes of silence and a service shared with the children before returning.
When the parade returned, the service continued with additional names of those being honoured called out by Randy Van Dorsten, a member of the Air Cadets.
A colourful display of wreaths were displayed outside the Legion under the Cenotaph, which had been erected in honour of those laid to rest elsewhere with names of veterans from 1914 to 1945.
With each name called by Van Dorsten, another wreath was laid by either a family member, or a community, government or organization representative.
The parade itself had uniformed participants from the 41 Service Battalion, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Banff Fire Department, Parks Canada, the Guides and the Scouts, to name a few.
Van Dorsten quoted to the hundreds of attendees the “Ode of Remembrance” from Robert Laurence Binyon’s poem, For the Fallen, published in 1914, which is said as a tribute to all of the casualties of war.
“At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them,” said Van Dorsten.
Banff being a National Park attracted a wide variety of people from all around the country.
Front and centre sat a war bride from England in her wheelchair beside a small child with a cast on her leg in her own wheelchair.
At the end of the service, when the trumpet sounded to the tune of The Last Post, there were about 100 wreaths laid.
The trumpet was played by Luna Kawano, a grade 12 student at Banff Community High School and a member of the school’s senior band.
“It was good,” said Kawano.
She enjoyed playing her trumpet outside, and as it was her first visit to the Legion she found the day interesting.
Graham Hildreth, a resident of Banff for 38 years and a member of the Royal Canadian Legion #26 Col. Moore Branch, was there in respectful remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“My mother’s father died in World War I,” said Hildreth in an interview.
Hildreth carried with him a Rocky Mountain Outlook newspaper, showing articles of the many Remembrance Day services that were being held at different Legion branches throughout the Alberta Rockies, and the history of some of the branches.
According to The Rocky Mountain Outlook, a second service for the public with laying of wreaths was to be held later in the day at the Cenotaph of Bankhead, which is a coal-mining, ghost town in Banff National Park.
At the end of the service, the Legion, which was initially formed in 1916 and named after Col. Moore in 1960, filled with people of all ages for a hot dog lunch.