World War II veteran John Augustyn and his daughter, Christine Brown laid the first wreath on behalf of MP Wayne Stetski and Canada during the Remembrance Day ceremony at the cenotaph on Nov. 11, 2017. (Marissa Tiel/ Revelstoke Review)

Revelstoke remembers

Honouring the ultimate sacrifice on Nov. 11

Hundreds of Revelstokians gathered on a grey Saturday to remember the veterans who have sacrificed for our country.

In a touching Remembrance Day ceremony, Mayor Mark McKee urged attendees to look into their own history.

“If you follow your past, we all have a story,” he said. “We’ve all been affected one way or another by war.”

McKee said that he had never realized how his own life had been influenced by war since neither his father nor his grandfather had fought in any conflicts.

McKee’s great-grandfather however, had fought and died from a shrapnel wound during the First World War.

“I never connected his death to me,” said McKee.

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His grandfather and his brother were sent to live in an orphanage in Vancouver.

When his grandfather married, they became foster parents in 1942 and were the first foster parents in Coquitlam.

McKee lived with his grandparents when he was preschool aged and the family was used to having large groups over and taking care of each other.

Had his great grandfather never served, his family may not have gone on their path to running group homes.

“If there had been no war, my grandfather would have had his own father, been raised in a normal family setting,” said McKee. “Foster parenting and running group homes was just our way of life growing up.”

When Royal Canadian Legion Branch 46 president Ed Koski spoke, he talked about the battles in the Second World War.

“Each year we gather in front of this monument that faces true north strong and free,” he said. “Seventy-two years ago, some of the bravest men to ever walk the earth stormed into battle by land sea and in the air.”

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He urged remembrance whenever passing the cenotaph.

“Always remember it is all that remains in honour of the thousands and thousands of men and women that paid the ultimate sacrifice. Those who never returned and those who returned, but were never the same,” he said.

With many of Canada’s veterans passing away, Koski said that legions across Canada are struggling to keep their doors open.

“I urge everyone who wants to help preserve the remembrance of our fallen veterans and help their families to cross the street with us and become a legion member,” he said.

World War II veteran John Augustyn and his daughter, Christine Brown, laid the first wreath on behalf of MP Wayne Stetski and Canada.

After each wreath was laid, members of the public took an extra minute to remember, laying their poppies at the monument.


 

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marissa.tiel@revelstokereview.com

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