About 300 member of the Seaforth Highlanders and the British Columbia Regiment fill Christ Church Cathedral on November 11 as their conserved colours are returned to the diocesan cathedral.

Since 1919, eleven regimental colours - flags that Canadian soldiers fought under - have been presented to Christ Church Cathedral for permanent safekeeping. Hung from the hand-carved hammer beams above the nave and chancel, they held a place of honour.

But, like the aging veterans of the past conflicts, time took its toll. Sadly, they continued to deteriorate. Threadbare and worn, they were removed eight years ago and placed in secure storage.

As part of the Cathedral's renovations, a permanent home for the colours of Vancouver's regiments was created. A "Repository of Regimental Colours" now sits in an alcove to the right of the chancel.

The repository is an oak cabinet that contains glass-topped drawers. The conserved colours now lie flat, sealed, and safe from the damage of pollution, humidity and gravity. Colour reproductions are mounted in a panel above the cabinet.

"This new space on the Cathedral's east side is a place for remembrance," said Dean Peter Elliott. "And a place to commit ourselves to peace and justice so that there will be no more need for international conflicts."

Dr. John Kellett, who served in World War II and Korea, examines the repaired and conserved.

"There will be more soldiers in the future," he told 300 members of the British Columbia Regiment and the Seaforth Highlanders who gathered on Remembrance Day for a service of rededication of the restored colours. "It's important that they know that there's a place here for them."

"Soldiers, particularly returning ones, know their need for healing and pastoral care. This memorial and our church are here so that their wounds - physical and spiritual - can be healed."


Reproductions of the colours held in the cabinet below can be seen in the Peace Chapel area