West Shore residents gathered under grey clouds Sunday morning to remembered those who died in the line of duty protecting Canadians and their freedoms, whether on foreign shores or closer to home.
Perhaps the largest celebration and most symbolic ceremony happened in Langford, where members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Cadets Canada each guarded one corner of the Cenopath’s marbled platform.
This quartet of guardians consisted out of two men and two women in a symbolic show of shared sacrifice. Each member of this quartet placed their hands on a modern rifle with its muzzle resting on their respective left boot as they guarded their corner, with their backs facing away from each and their heads bowed in solemn silence towards the several hundred people surrounding the structure, whose architectural elements pay tribute to Canadian war memorial standing at the site of Canada’s most famous victory of the First World War, Vimy Ridge, inclusive a local version of Canada Bereft, the statue of a grieving woman representing Mother Canada.
A young man estimated to be in 20s, if not younger, only heightened this sense by wearing a Canadian uniform from the First World War, as well as a mustache typical of the era’s officer class, standing next to the statue and in between the two marbled columns rising into the cold sky.
But if the staging Sunday’s ceremony signalled the sacrifices of Canadians on foreign shores both before and after the First World War, other elements evoked more recent losses. They included the Red Serge of the RCMP, a symbolic nod to 32-year-old Sarah Cst. Beckett, whom Kenneth Fenton killed in April 2016, when his pick up truck struck the marked police car that the married mother of two children was driving at the time, while on duty.
Premier John Horgan, who represents the West Shore riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca, paid special tribute to Beckett, during a special ceremony at the Langford Legion.