Canadian soldiers stationed in Afghanistan were never far from the minds of the crowd yesterday at the Beverly Remembrance Day parade and ceremony.

Hundreds gathered outdoors in northeast Edmonton at the province’s oldest cenotaph to honour those who served in past and present wars.

“We have less and less numbers of the World War Two and Korean War veterans, but now we have peace-keeping veterans and Afghanistan veterans,” said Lt.-Col. Roger Scott, who has served two tours in Afghanistan. “It’s a passing of the torch, so to speak.”

As a cadet marching band set the pace, the crowd proceeded down seven blocks to the cenotaph. The ceremony was made all the more poignant by the presence of young veterans, newly returned from Aghanistan.

“They are taking over from us,” said Bill Lesick, a veteran of the Second World War.

“In 10 or 20 years from now, I don’t think I will be here … The young have to take over.”

The multi-generational crowd was made up of veterans, government representatives and the general public alike. Many wondered how the importance of Remembrance Day would be impressed on future generations of Canadians.

“We are seeing more and more that contemporary wars are observed now in these kind rituals, so it carries it on for the next generation and for our time,” said John Pater. “I think that there is still talk about the veterans of previous wars, but more and more we are recognizing the veterans of Afghanistan.”

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