Ponoka Legion members march in to the cenotaph were chairs were set up for the service on Aug. 18. Photos by Emily Jaycox

Ponoka Legion holds Decorating Day to honour fallen soldiers

The Ponoka Legion Branch No. 66 held its annual Decorating Day at the Ponoka Cemetery on Sunday, Aug. 18.

The Legion members choose a day each fall to gather and place Canadian flags on the headstones of those that served Canada in times of war, conflict and peace-keeping missions and hold a service at the cemetery’s cenotaph.

Decorating Day is an annual event for the Legion, and although not standard, one that many other Legions hold as well. It’s a way to “gear up” for Remembrance Day, says Ponoka Legion chairperson Dorothy Houghton.

The members marched in with a colour party (flag bearers) and the singing of the anthem started the ceremony.

Houghton gave a speech, commemorating a few of the servicemen from Ponoka that gave their lives.

Willard Doran was born on a farm northwest of Ponoka. He enlisted in 1942 in the Royal Canadian Air Force and was assigned in 1943 to an RCAF Squadron as an air gunner. His plane was shot down over Germany and all lives were lost. John Galbraith was born in Scotland. His siblings Gordon, Robert, Vernon and Kay were all born in Ponoka and all served in WWII.

Following a service by a reverend from Millet, First Post was played and a minute of silence was observed.

There was a placing of wreaths and then those gathered sang God Save the Queen before adjourning to the Legion for coffee and cake.

The next event the Ponoka Legion will hold is the candlelight vigil on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. at the cemetery.

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