May 23, 2014 6:49 pm
Updated: May 23, 2014 9:01 pm

Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry celebrates centennial


Watch above: A military parade was held in Edmonton Friday to mark a special anniversary of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. Ross Neitz was there.

EDMONTON – Hundreds gathered for a special military parade in Edmonton’s downtown core Friday.

Dozens of soldiers marched with drums beating, bayonets out, and regiment colours raised high. The pomp and circumstance was all to mark the 100th anniversary of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI).

To commemorate the occasion, the infantry battalion exercised its “Freedom of the City” for the third time in its long history with a march through the streets.

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“The freedom of the city is an ancient honour given to a military unit that has earned the trust, the gratitude, and the loyalty of the citizenry,” explained Don Iveson in a speech at City Hall Plaza.

The ceremony goes all the way back to Roman times when generals and their armies weren’t allowed into city boundaries unless they had special permission or it was a victory celebration.

“And if you look back at the medieval times when cities were fortified with those walls, that was to keep the armies out,” said Master Warrant Officer Gordon George. “So to be invited to march through the cities is a big honour for us.

“There was a lot of people that came out for the parade in uniform, that weren’t part of the parade,” he added, “and I think that’s a testament to the honour the city has granted us.”

It’s actually the highest honour a municipality can grant a military unit.

For Andy Scott, a former reservist who watched Friday’s parade, it’s a distinction that’s well deserved for the soldiers.

“You just couldn’t be more proud of these men and women for what they’ve done and the sacrifices they’ve given to this country,” Scott said.

“They’ve made this city proud.”

Since its formation, the PPCLI has served in every major conflict Canada has been involved in since World War One. Through it all, the regiment has called Edmonton home.

With files from Ross Neitz, Global News

© 2014 Shaw Media

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