• ../../../images/Article_pics/December2018/december6/armisticedinner/images/candles.jpg

    (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

  • ../../../images/Article_pics/December2018/december6/armisticedinner/images/diane.jpg

    (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    The symbolic empty table stood at the front of the room. It is set up every Armistice Dinner to remind people of the sacrifices of those who go to war. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)



Armistice Dinner honours military
service and sacrifice, lost loved ones

By Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post

Posted on Thursday December 6, 2018

Deep symbolism marked the annual Royal Canadian Legion Branch 517 Petawawa Armistice Dinner.

A table was placed at the front of the room with four chairs standing empty. It was put there in honour of those who could not be there to dine that Nov. 9 evening and acted as a symbol of their sacrifices.

The tablecloth was white, to show their pure intentions when called into battle. Atop it laid four headdresses, each representing a branch of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). A rose was chosen to honour loved ones left behind and a salt shaker represented the tears that have been shed. A lemon slice alluded to the bitterness of war while a red ribbon stood for determination in battle.

Though they could not be there in person, they were there in spirit for this annual dinner.

“It is a time for everybody to sit down and reflect on the past, present and future,” said Branch President Pat Oland.

It wasn’t just an evening for CAF personnel lost in war or peacetime, or those who perished from wounds both physical and mental once they returned. Rather, it was one to honour all loved ones who have passed away.

“It reminds us that it isn’t only soldiers who have sacrificed in their duties to Canada, but also all of those who love and support them,” said Oland. “Their loss will not be forgotten.”

Following the dinner was the Candlelight Ceremony, where people were invited to light a special candle and place it at the foot of the Petawawa cenotaph. People lit their candles inside the warmth of the lobby and then solemnly brought them out one by one, the little lights gently flickering in the snowy darkness.

Each red candle symbolizes a lost loved one, and once placed, they stay burning until the morning of Remembrance Day, the flames paying homage to their memories. “It recognizes everybody lost and pays homage to them,” said Oland. “It is important that we do that so we never forget.”