For the first time, Kelowna students were involved in the annual ceremony honouring VE Day.
North Glenmore Elementary students learned about the Central Okanagan’s veterans Tuesday during Flag Day, which celebrates the day Allies declared victory in Europe. At Lakeview Memorial Gardens, the students placed flags on each veteran’s grave, a first for the ceremony, said Vanessa Burma Mastroianni, office manager with the cemetery.
Her son attended the event as part of two Grade 6 classes.
“They did a huge project on John McCrae (authour of In Flanders Fields). They had to put themselves in the day in the life of a soldier and write home to their parents. We thought it was really special for the kids,” she said. “My grandfather was in the war, and he met my grandmother, she was a nurse actually… it’s always been something near and dear to my heart and (my son has) a little bit of a passion for it.”
The students joined residents of the Cottonwoods Care Centre residents and Royal Canadian Legion members for the short ceremony. An RCMP helicopter flew overhead during the service.
More than 47,000 Canadians were killed during the Second World War, 94 of them from Kelowna. In the first World War, at least 134 soldiers were killed. At the time, Kelowna was a town of fewer than 2,000 people, according to the Lake Country Museum.
Around 350 veterans are buried in the cemetery, many of whom lie in the Field of Honour.