They aren’t planning a major procession, or a lengthy ceremony with a live band, but organizers of the first Remembrance Day service at the Murrayville cenotaph are going to have something very unique.
Accompanying the towering deciduous trees that line the perimeter road of the Murrayville Cemetery at 21405 44 Ave. will be 240 large flags from across the country.
“I’m going to line both driveways,” said Dave Manson, an affiliate of the 3rd Canadian Army Veterans Motorcycle Unit and Friends of Old Canada, who is volunteering with his grandson to set up flags for the ceremony, rain or shine.
“(If it rains) they’ll dry. A lot of these poor souls lying here got real wet in the trenches. The flags it wont hurt, they can be dried.”
This new service is spearheaded by committee chair Rosemary Genberg, who has attended the cenotaph in the past for informal gatherings. She has a personal connection to the monument as her grandfather, who fought in the First World War, is buried in the Murrayville Cemetery.
“I have attended this cenotaph for the last few years and realized that there wasn’t an actual formal service,” Genberg said. “I started coming because of the Langley Heritage Society, they placed a wreath. And last year, Brian Parkinson, out of the kindness of his heart, had heard there was a service here, and he came and he played taps and then we had our two minutes of silence. And I thought from there, ‘Oh my gosh, what could we do.’ This was just a real opening.”
Members of the Langley Legion also held a short service at the monument around noon, after hosting the Langley City ceremony earlier that morning.
“Everybody had left by then,” Genberg recalled. “So I really thanked them for coming and they came with their little tape recorder and we had a couple of prayers … But because they are so busy in Langley, and don’t have as many members in the Legion as they once had, it meant that they couldn’t come here until after the service at Douglas Park was finished.”
The cenotaph, which was restored by the Township of Langley earlier this year, is a twin to the Fort Langley monument. Both were erected in 1921 to honour local soldiers who lost their lives in the First World World, and have since been dedicated to soldiers from the Second World War as well.
“As this is the first formal ceremony here, we went for a simple but quite meaningful ceremony,” said committee member Grace Muller.
“Rosemary’s going to be the master of ceremonies, we have two people reading a poem, we have a soloist, we have a bugler, there will be music before and after the ceremony, there will be an opportunity for everyone to lay a wreath or a poppy at the tombstone, and there will be a small service of Remembrance in the middle.”
The ceremony will start at 10:45 a.m. Those who would like to sit are asked to bring their own lawn chairs.
Parking will be available along the cemetery drive and up 44 Avenue if needed.
The Murrayville service is one of four gatherings planned in the Langleys on Nov. 11. Services will also be held at the Aldergrove Legion, in Douglas Park and at the Fort Langley Cemetery.