Somewhere between 120 and 150 people gathered outside the Forest Grove’s Royal Canadian Legion to honour veterans from the area.
“It went really well. There was a good crowd of people,” said Wendy Clark, the vice-president of the legion.
While it was cold outside, it didn’t stop anyone from coming and Clark said it was about the average attendance, adding that if the weather was worse, or raining, fewer people were likely to show but the cold had no real impact.
“We’re used to the cold up here.”
Chief Helen Henderson of the Canim Lake Band attended the event, as well as Margo Wagner, the Cariboo Regional District representative for the Forest Grove area. Letters from Premier John Horgan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were read out loud, as well as the names from veterans from Forest Grove area and the Canim Lake Band who are no longer here.
Clark said the First Nations drumming was a highlight of the event.
“We always enjoy that and it adds to the ceremony because it recognizes them. I think the veterans that come out, that would be another highlight. We have quite a few of them come out and take part in the laying of the wreaths and just come out to the service to honour our veterans.”
Clark said there were probably 12 to 14 veterans who took part in laying the wreaths, representing different wars, conflicts and causes. She added that there were also 20 or more who were there just to attend the service.
“Sometimes it’s really difficult and we try to find out who our veterans are in our area,” Clark said, hoping the Royal Legion can find more. “We appreciate the knowledge if anyone knows of any veteran in our area and if they can let us know,”
The Forest Grove Royal Canadian Legion also hosts a veterans dinner at the beginning of Veteran’s Week every year. Any veteran is welcome, even if they come from 100 Mile House or out of town. It also doesn’t matter if they served in more recent years.
“Even now, people think of our veterans are from World War 1 and World War 2, but we have veterans in our area that are maybe in their mid-30s and they served in Afghanistan and that. There are a lot of young veterans we forget about.”