Greater Victoria residents opened their hearts and umbrellas at the provincial cenotaph at the B.C. legislature on Saturday (Nov. 11) morning to commemorate members and veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
Attendants of this year’s Remembrance Day ceremony took the opportunity to listen to speakers and songs, reflect during a moment of silence, and place wreaths and poppies around the cenotaph.
“Remembrance to me is the feeling for the first time when I walked into my unit. I see the history, and you can see and feel the presence of soldiers who were there before,” said Tavin Shamess, a 25-year-old veteran who enlisted in the CAF at the age of 16 and served as Cpl. “It’s not just a building and a place you put us all in, but someone was here before. Someone will be here after me. Someone will always be here. To me, it’s a feeling of hope to know, that there’s always someone there.”
Shamess attended the ceremony with his mother, father, and brother by his side.
“It makes me feel like I was appreciated, that it wasn’t that I just went off and served, but that someone actually cared. It can be really hard doing training alone, and you’re off on deployment, and then you come back, and it’s good to see that everyone still cares,” said Shamess.
Commanding Officer of CFB Esquimalt, Capt. Kevin Whiteside attended the ceremony and is home after being deployed on HMCS Vancouver last December. “Being on deployment with an incredible team of Canadians who are trying to do good things for not just our country, but for all our partners in Asia and to keep the world a better place moving forward. For me personally, coming back to my family is the best part of it all.”
Whiteside’s great uncle, Flt Sgt William Whiteside, was in the CAF and fought on D-Day. The Captain honoured his great uncle, and many like him who have served and who are currently serving.
“To me, it’s an opportunity for us to come together as a community and as a country to remember those who have sacrificed for us in the past, present, and their families,” said Kevin. “I’m so proud of what we do to put on this uniform every day. It means so much to me, especially on this day. I look forward to more Canadians joining us in the future as we continue to do great things overseas and at home.”