Members of the Ponoka Legion took time last weekend to celebrate and honour Canadian veterans at a remembrance dinner.
The banquet was held Saturday, Oct. 5 at the Ponoka Legion, which hosted families of veterans and elected dignitaries representing the federal government and the Town of Ponoka.
Wetaskiwin MP Blaine Calkins was invited to the supper, where he tries to make a point of attending each year. He feels taking part in the banquet is important. “I don’t know anybody in Canada that doesn’t have a special place in their heart for veterans.”
He is proud of the efforts of legions across the country advocating veterans’ needs but some legions are losing membership and are shutting down. These organizations rely mainly on a strong volunteer base and Calkins said he hopes Canadians consider putting their time in at legions in their community.
The Ponoka Legion has a strong executive and volunteer base, explained Legion president Sybil Evans. She feels the banquet is a night of comradeship and honour and for some years the Ponoka Legion has developed a strong culture of remembrance, which Evans is proud of.
“I think it’s an indication to the veterans that we haven’t forgotten and that we do spend some time remembering what they have done and it’s our privilege to have them with us,” she explained.
This was the first time that Mayor Rick Bonnett has attended the banquet; with both of his parents having taken part in the Second World War, he feels the night is a good way to remember the efforts of past veterans.
“My daughters are both 18 and I couldn’t imaging them going off to war and that’s what most of these kids did (in the past). They ran off to war and I appreciate everything they’ve done for us,” said Bonnett.
After the banquet, the sixth volume of the Military Service Recognition was handed out to families of Ponoka veterans whose efforts and history have been immortalized in the book. The book includes veterans from the Alberta and the Northwest Territories region.
The evening began with the march of the flags and then a toast to the Queen, to fallen comrades, to the ladies auxiliary and to the veterans. It was then followed by dinner, a roll call of veterans and passing out the service recognition book.