Canadian Gurdwara holds ceremony in remembrance of fallen soldiers
November 14, 2010
Source: Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara, Surrey
Serving and retired Sikh soldiers honoured in ceremony
SURREY, CANADA – The Sunday service at Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey held a special significance this weekend as the Sikh community paid tribute to millions of soldiers that sacrificed their lives on the front lines and to those that are following in ir footsteps today. The event also highlighted retired and serving Sikh soldiers.
Several Sikh World War II Veterans were honoured for their service and bravery. Col. Pritam Singh Jauhal, now 90 years old, fought in World War II addressed the congregation and spoke of the bravery and heroism displayed by the soldiers of the allied forces who fought for truth, freedom, and justice. Col. Jauhal, whose father served in World War I, also spoke about his 1993 struggle with the Royal Canadian Legion which at one point did not allow Sikh veterans to enter Legions with a turban on their head. Col. Jauhal explained how his approach to the Queen helped changed the rule which now allows the veterans to be active members of local legions.
Other Sikh veterans honoured in the ceremony included Lt. Col. Inderjit Singh Gill, Subedar Mohinder Singh Hans, Flying Officer Harbhajan Singh Minhas, Risaldar Harbhajan Singh Sangha, Major Honorary Captain Sucha Singh Shergill, and Havaldar Waryam Singh Bains.
Also honoured in the ceremony were Sikh soldiers currently in active duty with the Canadian Armed Forces. Lieutenant Manjeet Singh Vinnning from the BC Regiment accepted the honour on behalf of Major Harjit Singh Sajjan currently on his third tour in Afghanistan. In his address to the congregation, Lt. Vinning emphasized the importance of remembering those who lost their lives for our freedom and also encouraged youth in the congregation to explore careers in Canada’s Armed Forces to follow in the foot steps of our forefathers who fought with great courage and bravery.
In his address to the congregation, Gurdwara President Bikramjit Singh stated, “By highlighting the role of Sikhs in the World Wars, it strengthens the connection of the community to the events which are remembered during this week of remembrance across Canada. It is our hope that the Sikh community will increasingly participate in Remembrance Day events as its important that we never forget the millions of sacrifices made by soldiers for the freedoms that we enjoy today.”
The ceremony was followed by a screening of the new documentary from the BBC, called Remembrance: The Sikh Story. The documentary was developed in 2010 and explains the history of Sikhs in both World Wars and Sikh Soldiers in Britain today.