A small group gathered around a miniature field of handcrafted poppies Sunday afternoon to mark the beginning of an overnight candlelit vigil honouring B.C.’s fallen soldiers.
Cenotaph sentries will take shifts holding vigil at overnight until at least 6 a.m., clearing out in time for official Remembrance Day ceremonies. Organized by a group of volunteers, the event is in its second year, but coming to Victoria was a first.
“It was always my dream to come here and do it at the Legislature,” said organizer and Canadian Forces veteran Guy Black. “And we got approval through the Speaker to do it this year.”
Last year the group – based out of Port Moody – made 8,500 poppies and placed them on 4,000 veteran graves at Vancouver’s Mountain View Cemetery.
Black said the vigil is a powerful way to hold remembrance. He emphasizes the importance of knowing the names of those who died – before the Sunday ceremony he researched to find a list of names, which were then read out by himself and other dignitaries, including Minister of Finance and deputy premier Carole James.
“It is a different way of doing remembrance [and] commemoration,” Black said. “It’s really about the poppies on the eve of Remembrance Day. It has so much meaning behind it. It’s the right time and the right place. And it’s an honour for us to be able to do it here.”
As the public placed candles at the base of the memorial, Korean war veteran Sunny Son took the first post, wearing the Canadian uniform of the First World War.
The biggest message, Black said, is “not to forget.”
Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.