Ron Naidu of Vancouver places a wreath at the Afghanistan war memorial in Langley Township. Naidu was one of 100 riders on 60 motorcycles who took part in the annual Ride for the Fallen on Saturday. Dan

Honouring heroes at the Langley Afghanistan war memorial

Turnout up for annual Ride for the Fallen event

One hundred riders on 60 motorcycles pulled into Derek Doubleday Arboretum in Langley Township on Saturday following the pathways leading to the Afghanistan Memorial Monument, the Walk to Remember.

As they headed toward their destination along Hwy. 1, they had been greeted by a Township of Langley Fire Department ladder truck with flashing lights, displaying a giant Canadian flag on the 248 Street overpass on the highway, not far from the sign that declares that section of the route to be the “highway of heroes” in recognition of Canadian soldiers who gave their lives.

It was the eighth annual Memorial Ride for the Fallen to honour Canada’s fallen soldiers in Afghanistan, traveling from Vancouver to Langley.

Canadian flags lined the walkway which contains the names of each of the 158 Canadian troops killed in Afghanistan, and a tree been planted in memory of each of them.

Event organizer Barry “Brutus” Drews said attendance was up from the previous year, when an estimated 50 riders took part.

READ MORE: VIDEO: A trip to Langley to honour Canada’s Afghanistan soldiers

Drews is a member of the 3rd Canadian Army Veterans (CAV) ROME unit, which was responsible for having a portion of Highway 1 in Langley designated the Highway of Heroes in 2011.

The movement spread across the country with the last dedication taking place in Newfoundland and Labrador last fall.

Now, every province has one.

The event honours Silver Cross families “whose loved ones paid the ultimate sacrifice in service of our country” Drews said.

They are the next of kin of Canadian soldiers who died on active duty or whose death was consequently attributed to such duty.

There were five families present for the event including the parents of Pte. Garrett Chidley from Langley, who was killed on duty in 2009 – his mother, Sian LeSueur (who attended with Brad LeSuer), and father Cam Chidley (who attended with Wendy Chidley).

“It’s an honour,” Cam Chidley said.

“It’s a humbling affair.”

Also present were Ann and Gary Bason, Diane Street, and Allan and Nancy Mansell

The Walk to Remember was built in 2012 as a result of the efforts of two Langley students, sister and brother Elizabeth and Michael Pratt.

Through sponsorships and partnerships with the Township of Langley, Arboretum and Botanical Society of Langley, Rotary clubs, Veterans Affairs Canada, and other community groups, 158 trees were planted along the Walk — one for every Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan.

Michael Pratt attended the Saturday event.

“This is why we did it,” Pratt said, watching the wreaths being placed in preparation for the ceremony.

“The point of something like this is so we can remember those who fell every day of the year.”

READ MORE: Langley siblings ‘being the change’ they want to see in the world

The site, which was donated by the Township is the largest Afghanistan memorial of its kind in Canada.

The memorial structure was features a single column, representing a tree with its life cut short, wrapped with a metal ribbon engraved with the names of the fallen.

The last post sounded, then the ”Ode of Remembrance” taken from Laurence Binyon’s poem, “For the Fallen” was read out.

“They shall not grow old/as we that are left grow old:/Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

As the going down of the sun/and in the morning/we will remember them…

Those present responded together.

“We will remember them.”



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Some of the bikers who took part in the annual Ride for the Fallen through Langley. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

One hundred riders on 60 motorcycles arrive at the Afghanistan war memorial in Langley Township. for the annual Ride for the Fallen. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

Just Posted

Spreading Christmas cheer around Aldergrove

Easing the pains and difficulties of hard times is ‘reason for the season’

120 turn up for Aldergrove blood clinic

More volunteer help welcomed by Canadian Blood Services

VIDEO: Hundreds compete in Langley Olympians intra club meet

An opportunity for older and younger swimmers to get a taste of competition, coach says

Candy Cane Run rolls through Murrayville in Langley

Annual food bank fundraiser by firefighters

VIDEO: Basics for Babies underway at Langley Events Centre

Canadian country stars perform at fundraiser

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

Hundreds attend Hells Angels funeral in Maple Ridge

Body of Chad John Wilson found last month face-down under the Golden Ears Bridge.

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Gas prices to climb 11 cents overnight in Lower Mainland

Hike of 17 cents in less than 48 hours due to unexpected shutdown of Washington state pipeline

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

B.C. fire chief pleads with Ottawa for traumatic stress support

Campbell River fire chief Thomas Doherty presented concerns to federal government

Most Read