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Squamish Remembrance Day Ceremony 2023 — A time to remember and reflect

Details about the ceremony schedule and what to expect on Nov. 11.

It is almost time to don the red poppy. 

The Squamish Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Campaign starts Oct. 27. 

This year, thanks to the generosity of Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival officials, Legion members will be selling the poppies with Square point-of-sale machines, meaning folks won't have to have the cash to purchase them. 

The festival loaned the legion use of the machines for its campaign.

The goal with local Legion poppy sales this year is to raise $50,000. 

"It's big, but I look at it this way and go, if everybody in Squamish donates $2, I think it'll get us pretty close to there," said Russ Robertson, president of the Squamish Legion Branch 277.

The money goes toward veterans' programs. 

"In the summertime, we donated $5,000 to Honour House and Honour Ranch. And then we always make donations to the Institute for Veterans Education and Transition at UBC," he said. 

The UBC program helps military-connected individuals transition from military service to new career opportunities.

According to protocol, the poppy is to be worn on the left side, near the heart, until after the ceremony on Nov. 11. 

But Robertson said that no one is going to criticize if someone is wearing it somewhere else. The idea is just to wear it, he said.

The local Legion presented the campaign's first poppy to Squamish Mayor Armand Hurford on Oct. 23.

As always, Robertson hopes for a good show of support from the community at the annual Squamish Legion Remembrance Day Service on Nov. 11. 

Robertson, a retired warrant officer with the Canadian Forces, noted that wreaths are for sale again, as is customary. 

Anyone can purchase one, but the idea is they are placed in the memory of someone on Nov. 11. 

(Wreaths can be ordered through a form found online.)

Robertson said the local Legion currently boasts 180 members, up from a few years ago. 

He said the Legion is allowing registered service clubs and sports clubs to run the popular meat draws to raise funds, which has exposed more locals to what the Legion is and does, and vice versa.

"A lot of people's misconceptions are that it is a private club for veterans [only]. That is very firmly entrenched in people's minds. And it is not. I look at it as more as if you just have your values in line with the Legion, [you are welcome]," he said, adding that he thinks almost everybody is patriotic. 

"We have a quiet patriotism. But things like Remembrance Day are well attended because of that," he said. 

He credited Alta Lake Electric with helping get the veterans' banners up on Cleveland Avenue early this year, he said. The Sea to Sky Gondola and Century Signs also helped with getting them made, he said.

Details of Nov. 11

The Squamish ceremony will begin promptly at 10 45 a.m., Nov. 11, at the Cenotaph Plaza at Stan Clarke Park. The two minutes of silence begins at 11 a.m. 

This year, there will be an emcee to help explain things as the ceremony moves along, such as why there are two minutes of silence, when dignitaries should lay wreaths down, and the like.

Robertson said he sees it as his and other Legion members’ jobs to educate upcoming generations on what is done and why. 

Unless it is a service dog, Robertson asks that folks leave their dogs at home, rather than bring them to the service, out of respect for the solemn Nov. 11 ceremony.

"It's about taking 30 minutes out of your day to show respect for those who served our nation ... and just appreciate what we have," he said.

After the ceremony ends downtown, a social will follow at the Legion Lounge at 40194 Glenalder Place.


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