Photo by Chung Chow
Seventy-seven names are engraved on the Richmond Cenotaph, all of them of young men who left behind their families and community to serve their country in the fight for freedom.
Virtually unchanged since the cenotaph’s construction in 1922, a three-metre tall, carved granite Celtic cross monument stands as a constant reminder of their ultimate sacrifices in the First World War, Second World War and Korean War.
Four boulders carved with the names of battles—Vimy, Somme, Ypres and Amiens, are a unique design element of the war memorial which originally cost $1,612. Council of the day contributed $300, with the remainder financed by public subscription and general fundraising.
Since the 1990s, the Friends of the Richmond Archives has been compiling information on the soldiers who lost their lives in military service during the First World War and the Second World War.
This also resulted in the publication We Will Remember Them: The Lives Behind the Richmond Cenotaph by Mary Keen in 1998.
In 2016, the City of Richmond installed new poppy-adorned street signs to commemorate the local soldiers in memorial road names from Private John James Watson Abercrombie to Leading Aircraftman Pilot John Henry Reginald Willett.
Since the end of the First World War, Remembrance Day has been observed to remember those who have died in the line of duty and is observed annually on Nov. 11.
Close to 5,000 people attended the 2016 Remembrance Day service.
This year’s Remembrance Day ceremony, Saturday, Nov. 11, begins with a parade at 10:20 a.m. of hundreds of marchers including veterans, Canadian Armed Forces members, representatives from public safety agencies, and cadet organizations.
Official ceremonies commence at 10:40 a.m. and conclude with two minutes of silence at precisely 11 a.m.
This is in recognition of the armistice formally ending hostilities of the First World War “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.”
If you’re unable to make it the ceremony in person, you can watch it via web streaming at richmond.ca.