November 07, 2015 - 2:31 PM
PENTICTON - The Penticton branch of the Royal Canadian Legion continues its tradition of being of service to the country’s war vets.
The organization takes on added significance as Remembrance Day approaches. The legion will again spearhead Remembrance Day ceremonies Wednesday, Nov. 11.
This year two ceremonies take place; one indoors at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre and one at the cenotaph in Veterans Memorial Park beside the courthouse.
Ron Bannister with the Penticton Legio says services get underway with a parade march from the curling club to the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre starting at 10 a.m. Inside services begin at 10:30 and should finish at approximately 11:30 a.m.
This year’s additional outside service will take place between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. at the cenotaph. Bannister says the Penticton Fire Department expressed interest in holding the outside service, so the Penticton Legion prepared a format for them.
“Remembrance Day is very important to the legion. We put a lot of effort into the day,” Sergeant-at-Arms Bill Woods says, adding the poppy drive leading up to Nov.11 is one of the their biggest fundraisers.
In the past three or four years, the legion has put youth in the forefront, with cadets also playing a role in the ceremonies.
The Penticton Legion currently has a roster of 600 members, comprised of people who have served their country, or people who are interested in helping those who have served, Woods says. The branch has a service officer who liaises with government to help vets and their dependents who have issues get the assistance they require.
But Woods says they don’t have as many modern vets as they would like.
“Many of them think of the legion as an old boys club where they don’t have much in common, but they actually do,” Woods says. He thinks the length of time between major conflicts plays a role in that line of thought.
“It’s a change for them, more so than for vets of World War Two, which happened close enough to the First World War that some fought both wars," he says.
"It’s been a long time between major battles, from the Korean War until the war in Afghanistan, with no major conflicts involving Canadian soldiers. A number of our young soldiers weren’t prepared to handle some of the things they witnessed."
The Penticton Legion keeps an active schedule. The kitchen prepares daily luncheons, and the branch plays host to jam sessions, meet draws, pool and dart games. The branch even has its own dart team in the city’s pub league.
Wednesday’s parade to the convention centre will feature vets, RCMP officers, the Legion colour party, reservists, cubs, scouts, brownies and other service groups as well as the Penticton Pipe Band. Following the ceremony, Bannister says a short video is shown, which is meant to bring the message of remembrance home with some strong emotion.
“We try to bring a tear to everyone’s eye. We’ve been pretty successful in the past,” he says.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015