The Cranbrook Legion is urging the public to come out and honour veterans as the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War approaches in May.
Known as VE Day, the war ended on May 8th, 1945 after Germany surrendered to the Allies following a five-year period of global conflict.
Since VE Day falls on Friday, May 8th, this year, the Cranbrook Legion will be organizing an event for Saturday morning to mark the occasion.
“We also have to get the streets barricaded off for the parade, so it’s better to do it on the Saturday morning than it will be on the Friday afternoon,” said Larry Miller, with the Cranbrook Legion.
Like with the Remembrance Day ceremony, there will be a parade leading from the East Kootenay Community Credit Union down to Rotary Park and the Cenotaph starting at 10:15 a.m.
Bud Abbott will be included in the parade, which will also feature the Kimberley Pipe Band, the Kimberley Community Band and the Cranbrook Girls Bugle Band, which will be the honorary band as the very same organization participated in the VE ceremony back in 1945.
Hans Dekkers will be a keynote speaker at the ceremony, who will speak about life in the Netherlands during the Second World War.
Miller was 11 years old when the VE Day was declared and a ceremony was held in Cranbrook as people celebrated the end of the war and honoured the veterans.
In the archives of the Daily Townsman, there was an article in the paper’s predecessor—the Cranbrook Courier—describing the event.
“At 2:30 o’clock, Monday afternoon, a parade assembled at the C.P.R. Depot grounds, including the following organizations: City Legion Band, Civic officials, members of the Canadian Legion Girls’ Drum and Bugle Band, High School Cadets, army and air force, followed by children of the Central School.
“Proceeding down Baker street, the parade made its way to the Cenotaph where there was a brief but impressive ceremony in tribute to the memory of those who have given their lives in the struggle. The service included prayers led by Captain the Rev. Alan Gardiner in the uniform of the Canadian Chaplain Service, depositing of wreaths and sounding of the Last Post by members of the bugle band.”
That ceremony was attended by Miller himself.
“I was there when this happened, and I was over in that park the day when that news came out, May 8th, 70 years ago,” said Miller.
Following the ceremony will be a public barbecue at the Legion.