VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It’s not only soldiers who get caught up in war…
As thousands of Canadians gather on Remembrance Day to remember those who lost their lives in battle, another gathering in Vancouver will acknowledge others who have been impacted by conflict.
Teresa Gagne is with Vancouver Peace Poppies, and explains the ‘Let Peace be Their Memorial’ recognizes overlooked victims of war.
“They are largely civilians: refugees, women, children, child soldiers. They are some of the groups we have wreaths for.”
This will be the fourth year for the memorial, which is staged hours after the military ceremony. Past years have seen about a couple of hundred people attend.
“Our ceremony is held in the afternoon of Remembrance Day and that’s an intentional way to make it clear we are not in opposition to the traditional ceremony,” she says.
Gagne’s group is also responsible for promoting white poppies, which symbolize peace.
The City of Vancouver shows its support by waiving event permit fees and by providing a wreath of its own for the ceremony.
Like the Legion’s ceremonies, the gathering will feature poetry, music and speeches.
“This year our keynote speaker is Fazineh Keita who is a local man who was a child soldier in Sierra Leone. He and his partner started Innocence Lost Foundation,” Gagne explains.
Last year’s speaker was Tima Kurdi, whose nephew’s body was found on a beach in Turkey, as his family was trying to flee the war in Syria.
Gagne says Montreal and Victoria also have similar white-poppy-themed ceremonies, but they take place at the same time as the larger gathering. She knows of a group in Halifax that is launching their own version of the peace memorial for the first time this year.
The ceremony at the Seaforth Peace Park at Burrard and 1st Avenue gets underway on Monday at 2:30 pm.