Cadets will again stand for a 24-hour honour guard leading up to Remembrance Day ceremonies at the cenotaph at Dallas Square Park. (News Bulletin file photo)

Cadets to stand 24-hour honour guard at Nanaimo cenotaph

Youths will take shifts throughout the day leading up to Remembrance Day ceremonies

Military cadets will stand for a 24-hour honour guard around the Dallas Square cenotaph leading up to Remembrance Day ceremonies.

Capt. Dave Ruel, commanding officer of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets 205 Collishaw Squadron, said he hopes to have an honour guard made up from 205 Collishaw, the 136 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps AMPHION and 2422 Canadian Scottish Regiment Army Cadet Corps from 11 a.m. Nov. 10 to 11 a.m. Nov. 11.

“Actually it’s going to be a group of us because we’re changing the guard every 20 minutes,” Ruel said. “We did it for 24 hours last time in 2019 and we’re hoping to do it again … the only reason I say that is because I’m not allowed to take cadets out of school and being that [Nov. 10] is a school day, so it all depends on how many cadets I have available that have a more flexible schedule.”

Ages of the cadets who will be sentinels in the honour guard range from 12 to 18.

Ruel said to the best of his knowledge this will be the second time a 24-hour honour guard will stand at the cenotaph. Now that approvals have been granted to resume the guard, Ruel hopes to have a 24-hour honour guard around the cenotaph annually.

He said the purpose of the guard is to honour Canada’s war veterans and current armed forces members as well as emergency service members, such as police, firefighters and ambulance paramedics and others.

“Just to remember those who gave their lives so that we could have the freedoms that we have,” Ruel said. “We try and instil that in the cadets, so that when they’re actually doing their shift, for lack of a better word, at the cenotaph, we tell them to think about why you’re able to do this. Think about what was given up by so many so that you could have the freedoms that you have today.”

At the start of Remembrance Day ceremonies, the honour guard will be relieved by cadets who will stand as sentinels around the cenotaph for the ceremony.

Ruel said throughout the 24 hours, the honour guard members will be under the watch and protection of civilian cadet instructors or officers and there are officers who lead the shift changes. He added there is also a member of the Royal Canadian Legion who keeps watch on the cenotaph to guard against vandalism the night before Remembrance Day.

“That always helps and aids us with a little bit of peace of mind, as well, but we always have some form of an adult staff member present,” he said.

READ ALSO: French Creek veteran tracked submarines around globe with Royal Canadian Navy

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