By Richard Lawrence
The Candlelight Tribute for Veterans is a service marked by the passing of the torch from the veterans to the youth of Canada as a symbolic gesture and of the remembrance of the sacrifices of the elder generation for the younger. This is the 17th year for this event and was held at the Canadian War Museum on the evening of 5th November, 2018, to an almost packed Lebreton Gallery. The official party included the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs, His Worship Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa, Lieutenant-General Paul Wynnyk, Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff, Mr. Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian War Museum, as well as representatives from the various cadet corps and the youth of Canada.
The ceremony started with an indigenous blessing from Elder Claudette Commanda after which the wreaths were laid by the official party. Following this the cadets and youth of Canada passed down between the rows of veterans who passed their candles to the cadets to be placed amongst the wreaths. Remarks were then made by Mr. O’Neill and LGen Wynnyk after which the Act of Remembrance was spoken by veterans and the reply given by the cadet representatives
The one thing that sets this ceremony apart from all others is the City of Ottawa’s Veterans’ Commemorative Street Naming Program which serves to honour local Canadian veterans by naming streets in new developments after them. This program is run in co-operation with the City of Ottawa, the Royal Canadian Legion, Veterans Affairs, and developers within the city. The street signs bear the name of the person being honoured as well as a poppy.
This year Mayor Watson announced two local indigenous individuals, killed in WWI, who were so honoured this year: Private (Pvt) Michael Stoquo and Private Moses Tennisco, both of the Golden Lake Band, Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation, Ontario. Pvt Stoquo joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force at the age of 22 and succumbed to his wounds on 15 April, 1917, in a hospital in Boulogne, France. Pvt Tennisco died in action on 27 June, 1917, and rests in the Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey, England. The streets bearing these two names will be in Wateridge Village on what used to be CFB Rockcliffe.
The honour of receiving the street signs, which usually goes to surviving family, was given to Chief Kirby Whiteduck, Chief of the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn. In his address he noted some the history of the Algonquins fighting for Canada, even though, he noted, in the War of 1812, they fought on the other side. In commenting on the recognition of indigenous soldiers, he said, “It’s very positive now that the Aboriginal and First Nations veterans are also being recognized for their contributions to what we have today and continue to have.”
Following the remarks of the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, and music from the Governor General’s Foot Guards Band, the ceremony concluded and guests were invited to a reception in the main hall of the Museum.
To see all the images, go to: