Long before the large crowd gathers for Remembrance Day at Bridgewater’s Veterans Memorial Park, a couple dozen cadets will be holding an all-night vigil at the cenotaph.
“Through out my cadet years, I have learned the importance of our Canadian troops,” said Bailey Bush, a six-year veteran of the 62 NIOBE Sea Cadet Corp.
“This vigil is a great opportunity for us to show our respect. Our soldiers face all weathers and challenges, so I believe standing guard over the cenotaph is a great way to show our gratitude.”
The annual event was to begin with a short public service at 7 p.m. on November 10.
“I think people would be surprised to learn that even after the crowds are gone from the vigil service, we as a cadet core proudly stand on guard of the cenotaph all night long until 7 a.m. the next morning, regardless of the weather,” said Bush.
“I will never forget the year Mother Nature was not so kind. We stood on guard during a hurricane. It really gave me a understanding of what the men and women who served this country faced when dealing with the weather.”
Last year’s vigil included commemoration of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who were murdered within days of each other on Canadian soil last fall.
This year, they’ll also light a blue candle for Gabriel Comeau, a 13-year-old air cadet who died this summer following an asthma attack at the Greenwood military base.
The fifth annual vigil began following an exchange with the 78 Freshwater Air Cadets from Newfoundland.
“We spent a couple days with them and then they challenged us to do it — because over there they had started, about three years prior to that, doing a vigil to pay respect to veterans,” explained 62 NIOBE Sea Cadet Corp commanding officer Tina Rafuse.
“So we took on that challenge and we have been doing it ever since.”
Cadets typically serve in shifts throughout the night.
“There will always be somebody on the cenotaph,” said Rafuse.
About two dozen cadets and a half dozen officers will participate, then return for the formal Remembrance Day service on Wednesday morning.
“I enjoy being part of the cadet family,” said Bush, a Bridgewater High School student.
“In the cadet program, we are given so many great opportunities. Sailing is a big part of the program and something I have grown to love. I had the pleasure of becoming a sail instructor for HMCS Acadia this past summer.”
The public is welcome to attend the public service at 7 p.m.
“I would love to see the community of Bridgewater come out this November 10,” said Bush.