Surrey’s Andrew Crawford, 17, will play a big role in helping lay wreaths at the National War Memorial in Ottawa during the Remembrance Day ceremony on Saturday.
The Grade 12 student at Guildford Park Secondary School is in charge of 165 cadets at the 767 Dearman Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron in Whalley and has been named the 2017 Royal Canadian Legion Air Cadet of the Year.
“I feel great,” he said, about assisting the speaker of the House of Commons and the Speaker of the Senate Saturday morning at 11 o’clock. “I will be a part of the viceregal party that includes the Governor General, and the Minister of Defence as well as Mrs. Trudeau.”
Crawford told the Now-Leader on Friday, from Ottawa, that he’s “most definitely” got goosebumps about the important role he’ll play Saturday. “I think there’ll will be a lot more tomorrow, in the cold. I’ll be arriving back Sunday, in the late afternoon.”
His mom and dad are with him in Ottawa.
“It’s really exciting, it’s so interesting, so much history, but it’s very cold here,” said mother Jackie Crawford. “We had to go stand outside there for a good hour by the cenotaph and war memorial while we practiced everything. Pretty cold.”
Her son had lunch, she said, with the Silver Cross Mother and the president of the Royal Canadian Legion. “We have a pretty tight schedule. Right after lunch we’re going to the War Museum for the rest of the afternoon.”
Meanwhile, Dr. James Horncastle, a history professor at Simon Fraser University, specializing in Hellenic Studies, replied “Oh, that’s fantastic,” upon hearing of Crawford’s role in Ottawa on Remembrance Day.
Horncastle’s own relatives have been involved in 20th Century wars, including his grandfather, and great grandfather, “who was a tank commander in Western Europe,” his other grandfather fought in the Korean war, and uncle served in 1990s in Canadian Armed Forces, in peacekeeping operations in Somalia and the former Yugoslavia.
Participation in Remembrance Day Ceremonies in urban centres appears to be waning, Horncastle noted.
“It’s relatively strong in smaller communities, whereas in the larger urban centres there does seem to be a little bit of a waning,” he said. “It makes sense, in rural you have people who have been in the rural setting for a couple generations where you have that attachment going back whereas urban populations are more mobile and people lose some of the connections.”