‘Lest We Forget’: Langford Gathers for Remembrance Day
Lest we forget are important words. They remind us of the sacrifices that so many have made so we can enjoy the freedoms we have today, said Chip Bowness, a retired Colonel from the Canadian Army.
But for Bowness, it is a day that feels like it is on the verge of being forgotten by the current generation, who do not know why it is such an important day.
Chip, alongside his grandson Sterling, 8, marched in the Remembrance Day parade in Lanford on Nov. 11. Cadets and other service members joined them as they marched onto the grounds of the cenotaph.
Because of the weather, the younger and older Bowness met at the Royal Canadian Legion in Langford, where they shared the immense pride of serving in the army and what it meant for the two of them.
“The biggest benefit it leaves you with as an individual is knowledge of yourself and how critical you are to a team,” Bowness said. “it is a sense of responsibility towards others.”
Bowness had spent his youth in the Cub Scouts and the Army cadets before signing up with the Canadian Army when he was 18.
The younger Bowness is following in his grandad’s footsteps by becoming a Cub Scout, which has already taught him some valuable life lessons.
“Things like being on time when you say you’ll be there and calling people when you are going to be late,” he said.
It was a wet, windy day, but that did not dampen the mood. The rain only soaked the jackets of the service members who stood at attention as the civilian population gathered around them.
Bowness had joined the march with fellow legion members and the younger Bowness marched with his scout group.
There were over a dozen wreaths to be placed on the cenotaph, with a range of guests in attendance who were given the honour of placing a wreath.
The sounds of O Canada welcomed the start of the ceremony, and hymns and song tributes quickly followed.
Bowness, who has been to different Remembrance Day ceremonies around the world, admires how, even in other countries, there are ceremonies similar to what is happening in Langford.
The one he said he had direct experience with was during his time in Thailand, where he took part in Anzac Day, which takes place on April 25, the day the Australian and New Zealand Armed Forces celebrate their military.
“We focus on the cenotaph, and they use Hellfire Pass on Anzac Day in Thailand.”
Hellfire Pass is also known as the Burma Railway and was built by prisoners of war during the Japanese occupation of Myanmar.
Bowness said that if it were not for the sacrifices of those who went to war, Canada would not look the way it does today.
“I’m conscious of the importance of history and how critical it is that we keep informing people of any age. What does it cost to exist as Canadians.”
The cost, according to Bowness, was very high for Canada. There have been many different conflict zones the Canadian Armed Forces have been involved with, according to the Remembrance Day pamphlet, and over 100,000 people have given their lives.
“Canada had the largest percentage of its population in both wars of any country under uniform,” he said. “And casualty rates were as high if not higher than many, many countries.”
The younger Bowness, for now, is just enjoying his time with the cub scouts, going camping and learning all the skills that come with being in that group.
“It is too soon to think about the army. Last week, I wanted to be a doctor,” he said.