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PHOTOS: Hundreds gather for Remembrance Day ceremonies in Penticton

‘I think of the people I served with that never came back,’ said Penticton veteran Doug Pichette

On a cold, somber autumn day, those in Penticton stood in silence simultaneously at two city spots to mark Remembrance Day on Friday.

For the first time in two years, the ceremony took place indoors at the trade and convention centre, where close to a thousand people paid their respects to those who fought for their freedoms.

At the same time, Penticton’s Veterans Memorial Park hosted additional members of the Royal Canadian Legion, RCMP and local fire department.

For 23 years, veteran Doug Pichette has approached the park cenotaph for his own moment of silence shortly after 11:11 a.m.

“I’ve been here since 1999, every Remembrance Day,” said the 88-year-old, who served in peacekeeper missions in Egypt and Cyprus in 1961 and 1971, respectively. “I think of the people I served with that never came back and the people I’ve lost.”

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Pichette was among the many Canadians to receive a Nobel Peace Prize in 1988 for his work overseas. His local MP at the time, in Ucluelet, presented him with a medal and certificate, he recalled.

“The ones that didn’t come back…I will remember them forever,” an emotional Pichette said.

Indoors, meanwhile, local politicians, cadets and more veterans attended the ceremony at the trade and convention centre.

The names of those from Penticton who didn’t come back after serving in the First World War, Second World War, Korea and Afghanistan were listed and honoured with a moment of silence and short tribute video on the centre’s main projector.

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After the conclusion of both ceremonies, the community gathered at the Penticton Legion on Brunswick Street for coffee, soup and sandwiches.

Among those in attendance was Ron Steven, an 87-year-old veteran who was born in Glasgow, Scotland and served for Canada from 1951 to 1957.

Lunch at the legion on Remembrance Day is something Steven will never miss. The Penticton resident could be seen sharing stories from his past with some of the city’s younger citizens, as dozens gathered inside the building for further reflection.

“We remember today, and forever,” he said.

QUIZ: How much do you know about Canada’s military history?


About the Author: Logan Lockhart

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