For many, Remembrance Day is about much more than wearing a poppy.
Instead, it’s about honouring tradition and paying homage to the veterans in our community.
John Opra, a lifetime member of the Legion, has acted as master of ceremonies for the Remembrance Day ceremony in Revelstoke for many years.
That tradition will continue this year.
The ceremony involves many different groups within the community. One of those groups is the Revelstoke Rocky Mountain Rangers Cadets Corps. Their preparation for the annual ceremony begins in September.
“We start with drill, because it’s the beginning of the year. A lot of the cadets are new so they don’t have their drill up to speed,” said Capt. Miken Rienks.
In addition, senior ranking cadets who will be on the cenotaph during the ceremony practise rifle drill and routine. Rienks explained that drill is about uniformity, precision and tradition.
“It goes way back; we’ve always done it. It looks good. It looks sharp,” she said.
This year, cadets who will be doing rifle drill on the cenotaph are: cadet chief WO Alex Tilden, cadet WO Aiden Smith, cadet WO Solomon Moorehead and Canadian Instructor Cadre 2nd-Lt. Rachel Rienks.
Another large piece of preparation for the cadets includes volunteering their time for poppy sales. This usually takes place over one or two Saturdays prior to Remembrance Day.
“With the cadets out doing the poppy drive sales, more people seem to donate to the Legion Poppy Campaign,” said Rienks.
Right before the Remembrance Day ceremonies, the focus is on last minute touch-ups. Making sure uniforms are in good condition, boots polished and, most importantly, explaining the significance of Remembrance Day, what it is and what it means to them and the community and the veterans.
In previous years, cadets have taken time to clean the gravestones of veterans.
This year, the Remembrance Day parade from city hall will begin around 10:45. Cadet Capt. Kelly Rienks will act as parade commander. The parade will be made up of RCMP members, pipe band, Legion colours, Revelstoke Rocky Mountain Ranger Cadets Corps, Legion members, veterans, Revelstoke Grizzlies and many other youth and service groups.
Rienks said anyone who wishes to march in the parade is welcome to do so.
In a previous interview with the Revelstoke Review, master of ceremonies John Opra spoke to the importance of the Remembrance Day ceremony.
“I firmly believe [these ceremonies] are vital for the community to remember the people who have volunteered to fight for their country so we know why we have our freedoms and things of that nature,” said Opra.
This year’s Remembrance Day ceremonies will begin just before 11 a.m. at the Revelstoke cenotaph.