Surrey Museum Plaza will be jammed with spectators paying their respects at Thursday’s Remembrance Day service at the Cloverale Cenotaph.
The annual gathering, hosted by Branch 6 of the Royal Canadian Legion, draws a sizable crowd. Last year’s was one of the largest in recent memory.
This year’s services of remembrance begin at 10:15 a.m. (You’re advised to get there early.)
At 11 a.m., there will be two minutes of silence to remember those men and women who sacrificed their lives in military service.
The ceremonies of remembrance are followed by the traditional laying of wreaths.
Parade Sgt.-At-Arms Ed Bieker said local veterans will be joined by RCMP officers, emergency services personnel, Navy League Cadets and 746 Air Cadet Aldergrove Squadron, Fraser Heights Scout troop and local Girl Guides, and others in honouring fallen service men and women.
The RCMP E Division Pipe Band and the United Church Choir will perform music selections as part of the service.
There will also be flypasts by vintage aircraft in formation by the Fraser Blues and the Cenotaph Flyover team.
The Fraser Blues, an aerobatics team based out of Langley, recently retired from airshows, but are continuing their Remembrance Day tradition of flypasts in the skies over services across the Lower Mainland Nov. 11.
You’ll recognize Boundary Bay’s Cenotaph Flyover team by their loud, vintage Harvard aircraft.
Local dignitaries will also be on hand.
Bieker noted Staff Sgt. Steele of the Surrey RCMP’s Cloverdale/Port Kells District office will not be among them; she’s attending Remembrance Day services in Port Kells.
Following the service, the legion’s Colour Party leads the parade back to the branch for refreshments and entertainment.
Back at the branch
The Cloverdale United Church choir will sing at 12:45 p.m., followed by The Versatiles at 3 p.m and Bob Marlowe playing from 6 to 10 a.m.
On Sunday, Nov. 7, there’s a Remembrance church service at Zion Lutheran Church, 5950 179 Street at 9 a.m.
Remembrance Day in Whalley
The Whalley Legion Branch 229 is also hosting a parade an service starting at 10:20 a.m. Nov. 11. The public is welcome. The branch is located a short distance from Gateway Skytrain station.
On Nov. 11, the Surrey Museum and Archives will open its doors for Surrey Remembers between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Visitors are invited to the Museum and Archives for refreshments, films, to make peaceful crafts, and other activities. By donation.
Remembrance Week heritage series
Anthony Cowling had just joined the RAF at 17 after lying about his age when he was captured by the Japanese.
On Saturday, Nov. 6 at the Surrey Museum, the Richmond, B.C. author presents My Life with the Samurai, the story of his 44-month ordeal in a Japanese POW camp.
Out of about 2,000 men, just 300 survived – one was Cowling, now a retired police officer.
“All I had was a spoon and half a coconut shell,” he said. “I ended up weighing only 65 pounds.”
He wrote his book to recount his experiences as he beat the odds against starvation and brutality. His talk runs from 11 a.m. to noon at the Surrey Museum. (Admission $6; pre-register by calling 604-592-6956.) It’s one of three talks presented by the Surrey Museum and Archives during Remembrance Week to commemorate sacrifices by Canadians during the two world wars.
Also on Saturday is In Flanders Fields: The Canadian Corps in France and Flanders, presented by Langley author Warren Sommer, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ($6, pre-register).
More than 700 men from Surrey and Langley enlisted at the outbreak of the First World War. Nearly one in 10 didn’t return.
After the war Surrey built its first war memorial next to the then-municipal hall on what’s now Highway 10 in Cloverdale. His illustrated talk on the cemeteries, battlefields, and monuments of the Western front will focus on the Canadian Corp’s principal battles and the stories behind the names on the cenotaphs.
On Nov. 14, the Surrey Archives presents The War Years in Surrey (at the Surrey Museum theatre 11 a.m. to noon; $10, pre-register at 604-502-6459.)
Find out how Surrey contributed to Canada’s war efforts. Reference specialist Ryan Gallagher will also explore Surrey’s participation during the turbulent years from the 1910s to the 1940s.