FOR A task that takes just two hours a year, those performing it require a lot of patience and a high degree of physical fitness.
The task belongs to four cadets from the local 747 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron, who stand at the four corners of the cenotaph in front of city hall each Nov. 11.
They are posted there before the Remembrance Day parade winds its way down Lakelse Ave. following the service at the Tillicum Twin Theatre and continue to stand silently and still while multiple wreaths are laid and even afterward when the crowd that has gathered has dispersed.
Exactly how the four cadets are chosen takes place at one of the Thursday night cadet training sessions held immediately before each Remembrance Day, says Murray Hamer, a training officer with the squadron.
“It’s their appearance. Who has shined their boots, ironed their trousers, pressed their jackets. And cut their hair to regulation length,” says Hamer.
“Neat and clean. That’s how they’re chosen.”
Those chosen cadets must also be physically fit to be able to stand silently and patiently, adds Hamer.
“To stand there, it’s not the easiest thing to do. That’s where fitness comes in,” he said.
Achieving physical fitness standards set out in cadet training requirements is also a must for those who take part in various summer training courses held throughout Western Canada, says Hamer.
“When you go to those camps, you’re expected to be fit for what’s required, whether it be standing at a parade or something else,” he said.
In addition to cenotaph duty, other air cadets participate in the Remembrance Day parade’s colour party while the rest of the squadron marches in the parade.
The four cadets who will be posted at the cenotaph this year are Sgt. Zoe Presby, Sgt. Shyanne Campbell, Leading Air Cadet Ryan Fontaine and Flight Corporal Nickolas Hamer.
The cadets in the flag colour party are Sgt. Jonus Lecuyer and Leading Air Cadet Taylor Bury.
With an annual average of more than 50 cadets registered from ages 12 to 18, the 747 Squadron is the largest of its kind in the north.
Air cadet squadrons are supported by the Canadian armed forces and also by a civilian arm, the Air Cadet League of Canada which has a local branch in Terrace that works closely with the squadron.
Formed here in 1963, the squadron meets and trains at a hall located at the Northwest Regional Airport.
Its community activities include serving refreshments to local seniors at the hall each Christmas and the highlight of the squadron year is the annual parade and cadet awards each June.