Remembrance Day ceremonies were held across the Okanagan Valley on Nov.11 as people gathered at arenas, convention centres, schools, city parks and cenotaphs to honour veterans and commemorate the end of the First World War 100 years ago.
In the South Okanagan, hundreds of people came together at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre for an official ceremony that began at 10:30 a.m., organized by the Royal Canadian Legion-Penticton Branch 40.
Veterans marched from the Penticton Curling Club to the convention centre before attendants sang “O Canada,” several hymns and participated in two minutes of silence.
Carole Beaton lost her great uncle Harry after the second battle of Vimy in 1915.
“It’s an important time for me and everyone, I think, to remember that freedom isn’t free, these people have given so much, whether it be their lives, whether it be a limb, health or just the mental trauma of being in a war,” she said.
Robert Kirkpatrick said his father served five years in France, Belgium and Holland.
“Just grateful for all he forfeited. Grateful to have spent my time with him and grateful for the time he spent serving his country,” he said.
Robert Wood said his great uncle was killed in the First World War, his father served in the Second World War and he served in the reserves.
“For us it’s mostly that heritage, for me anyways.”
In Kelowna, the Royal Canadian Legion held its annual Remembrance Day parade in downtown Kelowna while the Army, Navy and Air Force veterans held their parade in Rutland.
In Vernon, hundreds turned out to Kal Tire Place for the ceremony. In attendance were several World War Two veterans who are now in their 90s. There was a special focus on the First World War.
Commanding Officer of the British Columbia Dragoons, Lieutenant-Colonel Mike McGinty, spoke of sacrifice.
“Despite the fact that we don’t have to put up with the horrors of war, it is still important that we take the chance and the opportunity to make sacrifices for our community and our country now,” he said.
More than 650,000 men and women from Canada and Newfoundland served in the First World War— over 66,000 gave their lives and more than 172,000 were wounded.
Other Remembrance Day ceremonies were held at George Elliot Secondary School in Lake Country, Peachland Community Centre in Peachland, and Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna.
WATCH BELOW: No Stone Left Alone Remembrance Day special