Most of the crowd had left when Doug Pichette rolled up to the cenotaph at Veteran’s Memorial Park in his wheelchair, wreathe in hand.
With a little help he placed the small tribute in its place beside the others that had been laid earlier, moved back and slowly raised his hand to his blue United Nations beret in salute.
“I’m late because I was doing the service at Charles Manor where I live but it was important to come here today,” said Pichette who was posted in Egypt in 1961 where he served as a weapons technician. “These service are absolutely necessary.
“It’s great to see so many young people coming out, some of them know what it’s about some of them don’t but they will learn by coming out.”
On a sad note Pichette feels sorry for the veterans of the more recent conflicts like the war in Afghanistan.
“I don’t know what their job, their goal, their aim is, when I was in the peacekeepers we knew what we had to do,” he said. “Those who are suffering form PSTD they have been cut off by our country, kicked out the service given a cash settlement and no pension, it burns my ass.”
John Robinson was another veteran attending the services at the park, he joined the Canadian engineers when he was just 16.
He lost his brother in the Second World War.
“It’s excellent,” he said about the turnout. “It’s really appreciated for all the veterans who have fought in all the wars. It’s very important that we remember them and be thankful for everything they have done for our country so that we are able to live in peace and the children grow up in a wonderful wonderful country.
“It’s great to see the young people come out, not the veterans. The young people will carry it on and it will never be forgotten.”
The outdoor event was organized by the Arm Navy Air Force Veterans in Canada and over at the Penticton Trade and Convention centre was the service by the Penticton branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.
“It is just so important that people come out to remember everyone who fought and gave their lives for our country and freedom,” said Legion poppy chairman Al McNeil before the start of the parade.
Schools throughout the district held their own services on Thursday and on Wednesday there was a special service at the Lakeview Cemetery called Leave No Stone Alone.
There, students from Princess Margaret Secondary School joined members of the BC Dragoons to place poppies on the grave sites of war veterans.