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More than 2,000 Indo-Canadians packed Surrey’s largest Sikh temple, Dasmesh Darbar, to honour members of the Canadian Armed Forces in a poignant tribute to mark Remembrance Day.
The event, organized by Harbinder Singh Sewak, publisher of The Post Group of newspapers, was the first of its kind held in a British Columbia Sikh temple.
Honourary Colonel Steven Millen (442 Squadron) was presented with a “saropa,” a blessed ceremonial scarf, as well as a ceremonial sword by temple president Gian Singh Gill.
Speaking to the congregation, Millen made special note of the contributions of Sikh soldiers in past conflicts such as World War I and II, as well as their ongoing contribution to military service in Canada.
Congregation members also collected and presented $2,500 in donations to military officials.
Speaking afterwards, Canadian Forces spokesman Lt. Commander Kris Phillips said he was greatly pleased at the inaugural event and was hopeful it would strengthen ties between the Sikh community and Canadian military.
“It is incumbent upon our Canadian institutions to engage in dialogue with all our diverse communities,” said Phillips, who has served in Haiti, Bosnia, the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan.
The Vancouver Regiment Irish Pipes and Drums Society, led the military procession into the temple prayer hall for the ceremony.