Chilliwack Rotary takes time to remember

For most, Remembrance Day is a day to remember faceless soldiers and their many sacrifices. But for some, it’s a day to remember personal wartime camaraderie, daily displays of horror and seemingly endless tragedy.

The Rotary Club of Chilliwack is recounting some of those stories.

The Rotary Club of Chilliwack is holding it’s annual Remembrance Day luncheon this Friday. And this year, it’s focusing on its own members and their military experiences.

“We’re focusing on the fellows in our club, 20 plus members, who have had military experience,” said member Richard Wenham, coordinator of the program and storyteller for the event.

“I’m going to be telling their stories, acknowledging their experiences.”

He’ll tell the story of one member being shot down over Belgium in the second world war and being taken prisoner of war. He left a wife and child behind.

He’ll tell the story of another member who had 21 years of military experience. That member did not serve in a war, but his uncle did. His uncle died in the Second World War.

And all the while, Wenham will surely be thinking of his own father who, at 17 years old, lied about his age to enlist in the war. He came back three-and-a-half years later forever changed.

“For these guys to recount their stories, it’s very emotional, very touching,” said Wenham. “It’s very close to my heart – it’s amazing what some of these guys went through.”

The club is also honouring Canada’s 71 fallen soldiers in the Afghanistan mission. An 800 square foot Canadian flag is being used as the backdrop for the Remembrance Day luncheon. On that flag is 71 crosses with the names and ranks of the fallen soldiers inscribed on each cross.

“This is an opportunity to take a moment and think about what it means to serve in the military, to think about the personal sacrifices these soldiers gave and the sacrifices their families gave,” said Wenham.

The Remembrance Day portion of the meeting runs from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Lt.-Col. John McCrae’s In Flanders Fields will be read. Two military songs will be played on the bagpipe. Last Post and Reverie will be played on the bugle. A moment of silence will be held. And Sew the Seeds of Love, a song written by one of the Rotary members, will be sung.

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