With it being November, Remembrance Day will soon be upon us. As is tradition, last week on Oct. 28, the Taber Legion as well as Legions across Canada, hosted a Poppy Ceremony where they handed out poppies to delegates before opening up donations for people to receive poppies this year.
At this event, some of the delegates spoke about this ceremony and they all also shared their thoughts on Remembrance Day in general.
“The poppy ceremony that we are doing today is a yearly ritual on the poppy rollout on the last Friday of October. This year it happens to be the 28th. We hand out the poppies to the dignitary of the town and they in turn give their people a poppy for the ceremony,” said Abe Andres, Taber’s Legion president, before he talked about the purpose of the ceremony. “Get them all started with the right ideas and the right thoughts in their mind so that Remembrance Day is the day of remembrance, and it is very well attended. Remembrance Day in general is a day that the whole country — in fact, the whole world needs to remember the men and women that gave the ultimate sacrifice to keep our world in peace and harmony, which is being eroded by so many avenues of government. That is sad, but Remembrance Day is to remember our veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice.”
“This is actually a very special event for any given year for this particular purpose — the poppy kick-off, and a very important traditional event related to what the poppy ceremony is all about,” said Taber Mayor Andrew Prokop. “As such, after the ceremony, the poppy box would be going out to different locations, and be getting set for November 11, Remembrance Day. I’m happy to be a part of this for sure. Remembrance Day is also a very important event recognizing both world wars and other wars attached to that, and what can you say — it’s a very traditional event as well with many veterans involved. We have to recognize and appreciate all that the veterans have done. All the sacrifices that have been made for the veterans in the past and present, and all the families and Canadians involved as well."
“Today is a really important day for the Royal Canadian Legion, and it’s the launch of the poppy campaign,” said Graham Abela, Taber chief of police. “Which, of course, its first purpose for us is to allow us all to remember through the wearing of poppies. Those of our fallen officers and those fallen during World War I, World War II, and other wars and campaigns have been held over the years. That act of remembrance is really important. It’s also a major fundraiser for the Royal Canadian Legion, and I think they need our help in order to keep going. It is important to us as a community to come out and support this and definitely as the Taber Police Service. All the members of the Taber Police Service are members of the legion by choice. It’s an important part of our community, and also from the perspective of community capacity building the Legion over the year has done a lot for the community other than just Remembrance Day. There’s lots of fundraising, poster campaigns, there’s lots of involvement with children and schools all that is important. They have an important purpose and I think we should support it.”
Following this discussion of the ceremony itself and how the Legion is vital to local communities, Abela briefly touched on his thoughts on Remembrance Day.
“Specifically, as a police chief, Remembrance Day is also an important day for police organizations across the country where we also remember our fallen officers that have served our communities and have died in the line of duty,” said Abela. “We formally recognize as police the last Sunday of September every year, but we also remember those on November 11 as well. It’s important to remember.”
“Well, I think it’s very important to remember those who have given their lives for our freedom,” said Merrill Harris, reeve of the M.D. of Taber. “I can’t really even imagine — I’ve never been part of war — I can’t imagine going off and serving my country in that way, and I am grateful for those who have done that to keep our freedom and to preserve our freedom. For those who’ve not only fought in war but done their best to keep the peace in other conflicts around the world. I think it’s very important to take the time to remember those who have served.”
“I think that the freedom that we have in our country, we owe a lot of gratitude to those that have fought in the wars and kept our country free where we can enjoy our rights and privileges that we enjoy in such a good country,” said Barnwell Mayor Kent Bullock. “I think that it is an important event, and I think that it is important that our youth remember what is owed to the people that went ahead of them and protect this land and protecting our freedoms.”
Ian Croft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Taber Times