There’s a chance this year’s Nov. 11 Remembrance Day parade can’t take place unless the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 13 finds two key volunteers — a parade marshal and a Sergeant at Arms for the organization’s colour party.
The death of long time parade marshal Brian Kirkaldy in August created a vacancy that’s proving hard to fill and there’s not only a need for a Sergeant at Arms to command the colour party but also fresh participants, says legion president Agnes Taylor.
Known for his authoritative and commanding voice, Kirkaldy took over from his father, Bud Kirkaldy, who passed away in 2006.
“A parade marshal has to make sure people and groups are in the right order,” said Taylor of the procession which traditionally begins in the parking lot of the Safeway mall and then proceeds to the Remembrance Day service in the Tillicum Twin Theatre after which the parade marches down Lakelse Ave. to the cenotaph at city hall for the laying of wreaths.
Someone with experience in the military would be preferred and the Legion does have a manual on hand outlining what’s required for the proper conduct of a parade, said Taylor.
The Sergeant at Arms should also be familiar with military protocol and be aware the responsibilities of the colour party in giving orders for the handling of flags carried by its members.
Taylor said those wishing to volunteer should also be physically capable of carrying out their duties.
“A lot of our members are in their 70s or older,” she said.
Keen-eyed observers of this year’s Riverboat Days parade will also have noticed the absence of Branch 13’s colour party at its head.
“This is the first time we haven’t had a colour party in the parade,” said Taylor of the decades-old tradition brought on by age and lack of volunteers.
That tradition went hand in hand with the Legion’s sponsorship of the parade and its organization with Taylor saying age and a lack of volunteers caused it to surrender that task.
“This was the first year we haven’t,” said Taylor. “We just didn’t have the volunteers.”