Royal Canadian Legion president Bill Haire thinks the turnout for the 2022 Remembrance Day ceremony in Nelson was back to pre-COVID levels and then some.
“It might be bigger than any crowd even before COVID,” he said. “It was a special day. It was extraordinary.”
Haire marched in the parade that made its way through downtown from the Legion to the 11 a.m. ceremony. When the parade approached city hall and Haire saw the large turnout he was astounded.
“My reaction was gratitude. Gratitude to the people who came out,” he said. “We put a lot of work into this every year.”
Haire, serving his first year as Legion president, said there were also more people than usual at the early morning service at the Nelson cemetery, and also a larger-than-usual crowd of 80 to 100 at the lunch at the Legion following the ceremony at city hall.
Nelson-Creston MLA Brittny Anderson spoke to the crowd about the assumption, held for many decades, that there would never be another war in Europe.
“But now we are facing one again today. And I would have certainly not thought last year when I was standing in front of you here that within a few months we would be seeing another another war in Europe.”
She said she was also thinking about the women of Iran protesting for their freedoms. New wars, Anderson said, increase humanity’s need to act out of gratitude and love, including within the divisiveness around the pandemic.
“We know that it’s hurt relationships, it’s impacted workplaces, but we need to be grateful for each other, we need to lead from a place of love, and be very grateful for the people that serve, that have served, and that continue to serve.”