By: Renée Rodgers
Trenton’s memorial cenotaph will soon glow with the light of almost 1,000 candles.
The evening of Nov. 10 will mark the fourth year in a row the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 110 has organized the candlelight vigil in honour of Remembrance Day.
“The ceremony itself is very moving,” said Ena Newman, event representative and wife of branch president Gary Newman. “To see the lights around the cenotaph is actually breathtaking. It’s become an event that’s well looked-forward to.”
Ceremony participants are asked to purchase a memorial candle ahead of time for a minimum $5 donation at the Trenton Legion on Quinte Street. Newman said some candles might be available for purchase at the event provided they do not sell out beforehand.
Many people who purchase candles will do so in memory of loved ones lost at war, said Newman. However, direct connections to the military are not necessary to participate. Candles can also be purchased in memory of the Unknown Soldier, or all Canadian soldiers who died in service.
Chuck Gaudet, legion official in charge of candle sales, said he hopes to sell about 900 candles this year, a goal the legion reached the year before.
“Right now we’re at about the 400 or 500 mark,” he said in an interview. “But (Friday) is normally the busiest day, of course.”
Ceremony participants are asked to meet at the Trenton Legion at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. At 7 p.m., the walk towards the cenotaph will begin.
To start the ceremony, a World War II veteran will pass a lit torch to a Korean War veteran, who will pass it to a peacekeeper, who will pass it to Gulf War veteran, who will pass it to a serving cadet, who will finally pass it to to a Beaver or Spark, said Newman. The branch president will then take the Beaver or Spark to the cenotaph and the torch will be placed there.
After the passing of the torch, ceremony participants will be invited to place their candles around the cenotaph. Cadets will be available to place candles for anyone who has purchased a candle but is unable to attend the ceremony.
Cadets will also take turns standing guard over the cenotaph throughout the night during a 24-hour vigil that will last from 11 a.m. the morning of Nov. 10 to after an official Remembrance Day ceremony 11 a.m. Nov. 11.
During the ceremony, local songstress Heidi Hayward will sing a song she wrote for the ceremony entitled “Light a Candle”.
All funds raised from the memorial candles will go the Legion’s poppy fund, which helps war veterans and currently serving members as well as their families.
For more information, contact Branch 110 at (613) 392-3740 or (613) 392-0331.