For one fairly new Nanaimo resident, it was his first Remembrance Day since learning his father and uncle fought in the Second World War.
It was one of the pieces that made this year’s Remembrance Day ceremonies in Nanaimo unique.
Several hundred people turned out despite the rainfall and the pandemic. It was a much larger turnout than last year despite recommendations that people stay home and watch it on TV.
For some, there is so much gravity to the day they feel compelled to be at a ceremony in person.
“It’s very sentimental to me. I have a lot of friends that served and they’re no longer here and you know we were all very tight,” said John Browne, a Nanaimo resident who served in the Canadian Army for 44 years.
“Because I have a lot of dead people in my past. I fought in Vietnam for Australia. 39 people I went on a plane with to Vietnam never came home,” said David Edwards, a long-time Nanaimo resident who is an Australian veteran.
For Mike Uhre, who’s lived in Nanaimo for a year, today is extra special.
This past year Uhre, who is now 57-years-old connected with his father’s family for the first time and learned his father and uncle fought in the Second World War serving as Burma bombers.
“Very proud. My father was a twin and his brother is still alive today and they live in Terrace and I couldn’t be prouder. I absolutely couldn’t be prouder,” said Uhre.
Uhre discovered his father’s family through DNA testing and learned his father passed away in 2002. At Royal Canadian Legion Branch 256 this afternoon Uhre laid a wreath for the first time in honour of his father.
“To be able to honour him in this way and all veterans at the same time was a moment for me and not one that I’m going to soon forget,” said Uhre.
This Remembrance Day for some marks a new connection with the past.
Also among those in attendance at the Nanaimo ceremonies was Second World War veteran Victor Osbourne who on this November 11th celebrates his 103rd birthday.