Greg McCormick’s neighbours in Garrison Crossing are familiar with the sound he makes when he practises.
That’s because McCormick plays the bagpipes and he likes to practise outside, sending his unique sound across the neighbourhood.
And five hours before Remembrance Day ceremonies this Sunday, McCormick will be downtown as he pipes at the statue of Chilliwack’s most famous war hero, Piper James Richardson.
Pipe Major McCormick will be joined by Drum Sgt. Doug Holloway – both correctional officers – as the two take part in an international “Battle’s Over” tribute on Nov. 11 a.m. at 0600 hours.
Hundreds of pipers around the world have registered for the tribute set up by the College of Piping in Glasgow, Scotland.
Why so early in the morning?
“Well, the Armistice of Compiègne was signed at that time on November 11, 1918,” according to the College of Piping website. “It marked the end of the fighting on the Western Front and ultimately the end of the Great War, that terrible, gruelling four year conflict that saw millions killed and wounded, including around 2,000 pipers. Countries all around the world were affected in what was one of the largest wars in history.”
The call is for pipers to play the retreat march, When the Battle’s O’er, at 0600 hours local time at any location, whether at a cenotaph or war memorial, or even outside the piper’s house.
McCormick said he obviously felt the Richardson statue was a perfect spot given he was a piper and a war hero. Richardson was a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of an enemy available in the Commonwealth.
On Oct. 8, 1916 in Somme, France, Richardson strode up and down the trench inspiring the company to go over the top to great success. Sadly, after helping wounded comrades back, Richardson went back out to recover his pipes but he was never seen again.
“The story is pretty famous,” McCormick said. “We figure that’s the best place locally to pay tribute.”