Events to mark VE Day in Summerland

Summerlanders will take time to observe VE Day with a ceremony and candle lighting service on Sunday afternoon.

Summerlanders will take time to observe VE Day with a ceremony and candle lighting service on Sunday afternoon.

The service, commemorating the surrender of Germany at the end of World War II, will be held at Canyon View Cemetery on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

Following the service, candles will be lit and placed on veterans’ graves at all Summerland cemeteries. Last year, 424 candles were placed at the graves of veterans buried in the community.

Entertainment at the Summerland Legion will follow at 2 p.m. and a dinner, free for veterans, will take place there at 5 p.m.

“For the majority of Canadian World War II veterans, VE Day is more significant than Remembrance Day as they served in the European Theatre,” said John Dorn, past president of the Summerland Legion. “VE Day marks the end of hostilities in Europe and their return journey home.”

Summerland Legion president Mike Brazeau said the observance is important as Canada played a significant role during World War II.

By the time Germany surrendered, Canada had the world’s third largest navy and the fourth largest air force, as well as six army divisions. Canada had roughly 100,000 people in its various military branches, while the country as a whole had a population of roughly 11 million people.

“We were quite the world power at the end of the Second World War,” Brazeau said.

A total of 25 Summerlanders died in military action during World War II and many more served. The community’s population was a little more than 2,000 people at this time.

Brazeau said the ceremony and the candle lighting help to honour those who served. He said the display of lit candles is especially impressive after dark.

In addition to the ceremony and formal events, Brazeau said VE Day serves as an opportunity for members of the public to talk with some of Summerland’s veterans.