Ponoka pauses to remember soldiers’ sacrifices

Time stood still in Ponoka Nov. 11 as the community paused to remember its war dead.
Young and old, those touched by the ravages of war and those who can’t understand its significance, gathered in the Ponoka Legion Hall auditorium to remember family, friends and unknown soldiers who paid the supreme sacrifice for their nation.

  • Nov. 17, 2009 6:00 a.m.

By George Brown

Time stood still in Ponoka Nov. 11 as the community paused to remember its war dead.

Young and old, those touched by the ravages of war and those who can’t understand its significance, gathered in the Ponoka Legion Hall auditorium to remember family, friends and unknown soldiers who paid the supreme sacrifice for their nation.

Led by a colour party of Royal Canadian Legion members and representatives of the Ponoka Scout and Guide Associations, a parade of war veterans, Legion Ladies Auxiliary, RCMP and Ponoka Air Cadets trooped into the hall.

Ponoka observed two minutes of silence.

Last Post and Reveille were played by trumpeter Emily Jacobs.

The poem In Flanders Field was recited by air cadet Flight Cpl. Rebecca Nicholson.

Former Ponoka councillor Les Oberst spoke on behalf of Wetaskiwin MP Blaine Calkins and said Nov. 11 is a time to express gratitude to those Canadian heroes who, “generation after generation, have taken it upon themselves to defend the values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.”

Canadian soldiers continue to serve valiantly more than 50 years after the end of the Korean Conflict and more than 60 years after the end of the Second World war.

“They are upholding the legacy of the brave men and women of previous wars and conflicts,” Oberst said. “They wear the maple leaf upon their uniforms with honour as they continue to face considerable risks promoting security, democracy and self-sufficiency in Afghanistan and other areas of conflict.”

Technology may have change the way wars are fought, but the one constant is “the resolve of our men and women in uniform to face danger in the name of Canada so that others here and around the world can live safer better lives.

“Remembrance Day is for them too.”

Legion chaplain David Schumacher gave the opening prayer and led the crowd in saying The Lord’s Prayer.

“The souls of the righteous are in the hands of the Lord,” he said. “Their bodies are buried in peace but their names live forever more.

“At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, time stands still for a moment. And we remember those who died, not for war but for a better world that will be free and at peace.”

Representatives from various levels of government and organizations in the community then placed several wreaths to honour those who did not return from war.

Schumacher said Canadians had good reason to enter the Great War in 1914 and again in the Second World War. “Canada entered into these two wars for freedom’s sake” and to preserve democracy in other nations.

“Our parents and grandparents and even some of our great-grandparents went to war for us,” he said. “They fought for us and many of them died for us.

“But they won. For freedom’s sake, they won the hard fought battle. And ever since, we’ve enjoyed the freedom they sacrificed their lives for.”

Poet Helen Rust recited Cathy Cable’s poem The Bridge on the Highway of Heroes, which details a community coming together to grieve the loss of today’s soldiers.

Following the retrieval of the colours, the colour party, veterans, Ladies Auxiliary, cadets and children marched from the auditorium to the cenotaph outside the legion hall.

Legion members and guests later sat down to a potluck lunch.

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