WESTBANK — A small crowd of people gathered at the Westbank First Nations Remembrance Day ceremony Monday to remember Aboriginal men and women who have sacrificed their lives for their country. It was held at their new veteran’s monument outside the Westbank First Nation Health and Wellness Building. It is the first ceremony to be held at the monument that was unveiled last week.
It was a very important day for Westbank First Nation Elder, Lenora Holding who’s father, two brothers, and sister all fought in past wars.
“I’m very proud of my family for what they have done. My father served in both wars. He lied to get into the first war. He was only fifteen and he lied to get into the second war because he was too old,” Holding says with a smile on her face.
Westbank First Nation Councilor Brian Eli who’s father fought in the Second World War, says with the war memorial now in place, they have somewhere to honour First Nation veterans in the their own way.
“In past years, we had to go to the Legion and talk with them and get them to recognize the Native contribution to the war…World War I, II and all the wars and now we don’t have to go to them or to anyone. We just honour our veterans,” says Eli.
The ceremony began with a prayer led by Holding for Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo.
Students from Sensisyusten Community School sang a series of songs during the laying of wreaths at the veterans monument before a minute of silence was held.
The ceremony was later moved into the Health and Wellness Building where the wreaths and photos of the veterans being honoured today were displayed at a table.
The veteran’s monument where the Westbank First Nation Remembrance Day ceremony was held was unveiled just last week. Artist of the veterans memorial, Smoker Marchand says he wanted to depict a strong First Nation man, a strong First Nation woman, and a soldier that could be anyone so that everyone is represented.