Taber preparing for this year’s Remembrance Day ceremonies

With Remembrance Day only a few days away, it is good to know exactly what the community is doing for this day. Cst. Christopher Nguyen, Regimental Sergeant Major for the Taber Police Service and a Lieutenant of the Canadian Armed Forces - CIC, was able to provide insight into all of the things that will be happening in Taber on and around Remembrance Day.

“I’m a member of the Remem- brance Day service committee, so each and every year there’s a whole bunch of us from the community that get together to plan and coordinate for all these events that are coming up,” said Nguyen. “As you know, November is a really important time, especially leading towards Remembrance Day ceremonies in order to honour our heritage, our veterans, those who served, those who we have unfortunately lost in the past, and in present times. It’s really important to us as a community to make sure that we honour those who have given up so much for us — who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.”

Nguyen briefly went over the poppy ceremony that occurred on Oct. 28 before going into more detail about the other Remembrance Day events that will be happening this November.

“The poppy campaign, of course, is the poppy that we wear every year. Poppy boxes are available at all major and public venues with donations being received on behalf of the Legion which goes to local veterans in support and service of them. In addition to that, the town has launched the veterans banner program. You might have seen them going up around town, and people from the community are invited to make an application to purchase a banner on behalf of a veteran they want to recognize. Usually, it’s reserved for members of the military, law enforcement, or service personnel that have served as part of the Commonwealth — so, Canadian or his majesty’s loyal countries. That’s a really great program that’s been launched since last year and it’s going strong this year. Already I think we’re at capacity, and along with that there is now also a history book and a tour that you can actually go through and learn about the vet- erans that are being honoured which is amazing.”

Following this Nguyen spoke about the veteran supper that will be starting at 5 p.m. on Nov. 10 before going into the details of Remembrance Day itself.

“The next big event we have will be a veteran supper which is held on November 10 at the Legion, and it’s public invitation,” said Nguyen. “You can purchase tickets at the Legion, and for veterans and their plus ones, it is a free dinner to honour them as well. Members of the Taber Police Service serve the guests at the supper — it’s a common thing that we do, and the meal is prepared by the ladies’ auxiliary branch — it’s an amazing thing they do every year. Of course, on the day of Remembrance Day, we have the cemetery ceremonies where cadets and community members honour those at grave sites by placing a poppy and a Canadian flag on each of their gravestones. Following that, there is a march over from the Legion — cadets, service personnel, and military march over to the community centre where we begin the service around 10:30 a.m. to coincide with the act of remembrance and the moment of silence at 11 o’clock.”

Following the service, refreshments will be immediately available at the Royal Canadian Legion lounge for service members and veterans with it then being open to the general public at 2 p.m. Lastly, Nguyen spoke on some other Remembrance Day activities that he takes part in leading up to the 11th within schools across Taber.

“In addition to that, between the start of November and November 10, there will be veterans, legion members, and military personnel speaking at different public functions, and school presentations just to remind all of our young as to why it is we really honour veterans on Remembrance Day. Depending upon what age group, I explain what it is to understand conflict. We grew up in a society today where we’re free of war, we’re free of conflict, we’re free of hardship from military aggression anyway. Unfortunately for the citizens of Ukraine, for example, right now they are experiencing war. There are other many nations that are experiencing conflict and war of that magnitude. With their external influences coming in and trying to take away their sovereignty. I explain to the kids we are very blessed to live and have the rights and freedoms that we do get to enjoy, but it wasn’t always this way. We have this great society because of the hardship and the sacrifices of those who came before us, and that’s the main point of what I try to explain to the children in the schools during the remembrance presentation.”

Ian Croft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Taber Times