“Darkness does not get the last word,” said Padre Douglas Campbell during his speech at the 2023 Remembrance Day Ceremony in Smithers. “In the bleakest of times, look for helpers in our midst.”
On Nov. 11, Smithers residents gathered to honour fallen war veterans and emergency personnel. This year’s ceremony saw an emphasis on commemorating RCMP officers and firefighters.
The ceremony began at the Legion, where parade participants marched to the cenotaph for the ceremony, then back to the Legion for an optional celebratory toast.
At 11 a.m. attendees bowed their heads for two minutes of silence, many could be observed wearing the symbolic poppy in honour of those who sacrificed their lives for Canada.
“We give thanks for all who continue their enduring legacy, remembering this year, the tragic loss of RCMP officers and firefighters who made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty,” said Campbell.
In between speeches, local organizations and family members laid down commemorative wreaths dressed with poppies and a purple ribbon. Amongst those included RCMP, Smithers Firefighters, Emergency Support Services, and B.C. Paramedics and Ambulance Services.
During the ceremony, attendees sang O Canada, and God Save the King, as well as recited The Lord’s Prayer.
Campbell was a chapelman with the Canadian Armed Forces until 2004, when he joined the Legion in Terrace as a chapelman, before later transitioning to Smithers.
“For RCMP officers and firefighters present, may it be of some comfort for you to know that your fallen comrades, like others in uniform, are woven into the very fabric of our nation and died while wearing the cloth of our country,” said Campbell.
The concert band played as RCMP officers marched in full dress uniform back to the Legion. At the hall, guests drank hot buttered rum and shared stories of their relationship to war efforts.
“I really appreciate that this year that members who served in the RCMP and the firefighting services were also acknowledged for the sacrifice that brings the community together,” said Stikine MLA Nathan Cullen during the celebration at the legion.
“One of the hardest things we ask people to do is put on a uniform, leave their families, and the greatest promise we can make to them and their families is that they’ll return home at night. It’s a troubling and dangerous world right now. But I think there’s also things that unite us and that’s the respect for those who serve. It’s also our ability to come together as a community and hold those folks out.”
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