South Peace News
Thanks and tributes were expressed for those who fought for the freedoms of Canadians during a Remembrance Day service in High Prairie Legion hall on Nov. 11.
“It’s very important to remember them,” says local Royal Canadian Legion president Don Ebbett, who led the service that drew a crowd of about 350 people.
“The soldier’ greatest fear is to be forgotten, and I can see from the number of people here, that we won’t.”
He read the names of many people from the High Prairie area who sacrificed their lives in wars.
“What a waste,” Ebbett says.
Special mention was given to the centennial of the Battle of Passchendaele in Belgium where 55,000 Commonwealth soldiers died.
“All of those guys died for nothing,” Ebbett says.
“It’s worth remembering.”
Representatives from federal, provincial and local government shared words of thanks and honour to those who served.
A message from Peace River – Westlock MP Arnold Viersen was read by High Prairie RCMP Sgt. George Cameron.
Words from Lesser Slave Lake MLA Danielle Larivee were read by Ebbett.
Local municipal leaders also shared, led by Town of High Prairie Mayor Brian Panasiuk.
“Today is a day for the people of our great community to join with all Canadians to remember the men and women who have served and sacrificed so much for our country and to salute those who continue to serve Canada today,” Panasiuk says.
He noted the Wall of Fame in the Legion hall that honours those who died in service.
“Reading the stories, it is a reminder of the sacrifices the people and families of this community have made,” Panasiuk says.
“I can not help but think that these people have set the character of this community that is evident here today.”
Big Lakes County Reeve Ken Matthews added to that message to honour those who served.
“They paid the price so you could have freedom,” Matthews says.
“We have to remember why we’re here with the freedoms we have.
“It’s because of what they did.”
A biblical message “To Serve is to Love” was shared by Chaplain Pat Duffin, pastor of the High Prairie Christian Centre.
“I want to commend, to serve is to love, to give is to love,” Duffin says.
He was encouraged by those who served and those who respect.
“Canada has never failed to keep that somber anniversary of the cessation of hostilities and the remembrance of our fallen heroes and the horrible cost of war and the precious price of freedom,” Duffin says.
“I am so proud of these special people who cared so much about making a difference and who sacrificed their lives on behalf of others.
“And I am so proud of the citizens who, from the very young to the extremely old, show up to demonstrate their gratitude and respect.”
Several other church ministers participated in the service.
One pastor encouraged people to be an example to following generations to be grateful for those who serve and protect the country.
“We need to teach our children and grandchildren to thank our servants for giving us freedom,” says Rev. Brian Gilroy, pastor of the Nazarene Church of High Prairie.
Two teens shared special readings during the service.
In Flanders Fields was read by Sgt. Jared Gomes of 539 High Prairie Cadets.
St. Andrew’s School student Kaylee Ferguson read a poem she wrote and received honourable mention at the Legion District Level in the annual Remembrance Day contest.