South Peace News
Messages of hope and remembrance were the common themes at the Remembrance Day service at the Royal Canadian Legion Hall Nov. 11.
One by one, High Prairie Royal Canadian Legion president Don Ebbett read the names of local soldiers lost in the two World Wars – all 29 of them!
Ebbett also read the name of the lone person who served who passed away during the last year. It was a very personal moment for Ebbett, who lost his brother, Wendell, earlier this year.
He also noted of approximately one million who served in the Second World War, only 40,000 are left.
Amazingly, two of them are local: George Bennett and Frank Pratt, plus Korean War veteran Gordon Rumley, who sat prominently in the front row.
Several dignitaries gave messages. Peace River – Westlock MP Arnold Viersen gave greetings on behalf of the Government of Canada.
“It’s good to see all of you here this morning,” he said.
Referring to his Dutch heritage – both his grandparents were Dutch – he called Canadians “heroes” for their efforts in liberating Holland.
“It’s still entrenched in the Dutch … it binds our two countries,” said Viersen.
“I am eternally grateful for Canadians to defend righteousness.
“It’s my wish that God keeps this land glorious and free,” he concluded.
Ann Stewart gave a message on behalf of Lesser Slave Lake MLA Pat Rehn. She noted it was 111 years since the end of the First World War and thanked the Legion for holding the service.
“Alberta had one of the highest enlistment rates in the country,” said Stewart.
“May we never forget our fallen brothers and sisters! God bless!”
Town of High Prairie Mayor Brian Panasiuk noted the efforts of veterans allowed the current generations to enjoy the freedoms we have today.
He also gave special recognition the families, who endured tremendous sacrifice as they watched family members to go war.
Big Lakes County Reeve Richard Simard read a poem explaining remembrance. The poem explained a soldier whose name is not revealed but spoke of the importance and acknowledgement of the service provided.
“We remember and honour the many. So many who fought to defend our country. We will never forget.”
Legion Chaplain Pat Duffin then conducted the service. He prayed for all those still in pain and asked everyone to remain “grateful and humble”.
Victory Life Centre Rev. Todd Moore read Scripture from Joshua 4:8-9, 18-24.
High Prairie Air Cadet Jayden Tancowny read In Flanders Fields before Moore returned with prayers of remembrance and concern.
St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church Father Lawrence Odoemena then gave the Benediction.
Church of the Nazarene Pastor Brian Gilroy delivered a speech focusing on peace.
“The price of peace is a price not to be taken lightly,” he said.
“War is battle between good an evil … to see the price of evil when it’s allowed to flourish.”
He added the price paid to fight evil was not confined to the battlefields but also at home.
“So many great young men and women of promise,” he said of the lives lost.
“Never take our freedom so lightly that we repeat the mistakes of the past.”
The High Prairie Air Cadets provided the colours. Leah Thompson read her award-winning poem Remember Their Sacrifice.
Remember Their Sacrifice
Waving farewell fighting tears
Without guarantee for return
Praying for God
to shed light
on our darkest fears
Soldiers go off to war
wearing their uniforms
brave and prepared
war has begun
Sad and fearful eyes
fill our homes
When will it all end?
Battered and bruised
battling for freedom
fighting for their lives
and to see loved ones again
Reports come in
families cry in anguish
Many men and women died
in the battle for peace
lost but not forgotten
We must never forget!