When Leo Braniff led his first Remembrance Day parade, there was still a large contingent of Second World War veterans, and a sprinkling of First World War survivors.
The veterans from the two wars would gather at the Port Moody legion after the parade to sing the old war songs.
"There has been a lot of good memories," Braniff recalled.
When crowds gather for the next Remembrance Day parade in Port Moody, something will be missing.
Well, not something, but someone. For 40 years, Braniff served as the sergeant-at-arms for the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 119.
In that time, he's run the annual parade, looked after the colour guard and kept order at legion meetings.
But this weekend, the 77-year-old veteran will be retiring from his duties, passing on the job to another member.
"They asked if I would take it [sergeant-at-arms] over for one year - that was 1972," Braniff told The NOW.
"I said, 'Sure no problem.' Basically, I've been doing it ever since."
It was a position that came naturally to the former New Westminster police officer.
When Braniff took over, the legion's colour party had just three members.
As he retires, it now has a full complement of 12.
The colour party basically handles drill movements, flag protocol and flag drills.
"Might as well go out while you're still on top," Braniff said, noting his moves aren't quite what they were in the past.
He also leaves behind a march's worth of memories, which included days the job required him to get a little tough.
At a gathering of vets on both sides of the border in Texas years back, Braniff was given the nod to run the parade.
So when a member said he had for-gotten his black shoes, a direct order came down from the sergeant-at-arms.
"If you don't get a pair of black shoes, I'm going to paint your feet black," Braniff joked.
One time, he was also tasked with removing a member from a meeting at the behest of the president.
While some members were expecting violence, Braniff handled the situation without incident.
In his four decades, he's also observed the various ebbs and flows of legion life.
Braniff noted the resurgence in the interest of veterans and Remembrance Day from the general public.
The air force vet believes it started with the D-Day 50th anniversary celebrations, and has continued with a new generation of troops fighting in Afghanistan.
"The public's much more aware now than back in the 1970s," he said.
The man taking over the role of sergeant-at-arms for the legion admits he has big shoes to fill.
"It's a huge honour - it's also very scary," said Tom Warwick, who joined the colour party more than 30 years ago.
"It's a way bigger job than it seems." Warwick even tried to convince Braniff to stay on for another 10 years, to no avail.
The new sergeant is also in awe of his predecessor's 40 years at the helm, pointing out that no other sergeant-at-arms in B.C. has carried out a stint that long consecutively.
"I just hope I can do it as well as Leo," Warwick said.
A big retirement bash for Braniff is also in the works for the new year.
Though he won't be running the parades, he won't be straying too far from the legion, adding he intends to stay involved.
But Braniff admits it will be a little weird to watch the parade from the sidelines.
So, he'll be available to offer advice to Warwick.
"I'll be there if he needs me," Braniff said.
And judging by the legacy he leaves behind, that help will likely be accepted and appreciated.