Essex Legion hosts vigil at the cenotaph for WWI Armistice anniversary 

OPP Constable Scott Doherty took on the 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. vigil at the cenotaph shift on Saturday morning as part of the Essex Legion’s two-day event that paid homage to veterans and fallen soldiers. The vigil was held in recognition of Remembrance Day and the 100th anniversary of WWI’s Armistice.    

by Sylene Argent

In recognition of Remembrance Day and the centennial anniversary of WWI’s armistice, around 40 individuals volunteered to take on a shift to stand in silence at the Essex Centre cenotaph.

  The Essex Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 201) organized the vigil, which, thanks to number of volunteers, was able to start around 48 hours before the 11th hour on November 11.

    Essex Legion’s Second Vice President, Craig Chartier, said there was a great turnout of those who participated in the vigil from the OPP, Essex Fire & Rescue, and the Legion. Community members volunteered for shifts as well.

  Most participants took on one-hour shifts, though some opted to stand in silence for two.

  “We got a lot of good, positive feedback from the community. There were a lot of good Samaritans, who stop by the cenotaph to say ‘thank you for doing this’ to those who took part in the vigil,” Chartier said.

  “For the first year, I was quite impressed we could do two days. I was very happy with the participation,” Chartier said of those who volunteered. “I would have liked more kids to get involved. That is something we can focus on for next year. Maybe, we can even invite families to take part.”

  Though the weather was cold for the volunteers to stand in silence as part of the vigil, Chartier said one or two hours was a small amount of time to brave the cool weather as servicemen fought in trenches for days in-and-days-out in inclement weather during wars of the past.

  “I hope the vigil will be a yearly thing,” Chartier said. “People are already saying ‘sign me up for next year.’”