BY STEVE CHRISTIE
November is an emotional and reflective time for many of us in Lacombe, as we remember the more than one and a half million members of the Canadian Armed Forces – including our very own Master Corporal Bryon Greff – who served our country in times of need, and who laid down their lives to defend our most deeply-held values – democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law.
We honour the sacrifice made by those who answered the call throughout our nation’s history, and we salute those who continue to step forward to serve in our Armed Forces as peacekeepers, in conflict zones or to help out with disaster relief efforts around the world and at home.
Our nation has been a peace keeping force throughout the world since the 1950s. Since then, more than 125,000 Canadian Armed Forces members have served on international peacekeeping missions and their efforts are honoured and remembered at the national peacekeeping memorial ‘Reconciliation’ in Ottawa.
Every year on Nov. 11th we remember and honour the many men and women who have sacrificed to uphold the democratic values we embrace and to help secure a brighter future for Canadians.
We also recognize the grave impact that military service can have on the families of those who serve in our Armed Forces. Most of us know of a family member, a friend or neighbour who has served, is serving, or is going to serve with the Canadian Armed Forces around the world. Let us pray for their safe returns to their loved ones at home.
From the last Friday in October to Remembrance Day, Canadians wear a poppy as a symbol of national pride and respect; a symbol of remembrance of our fallen soldiers.
They remind us of the poppies that grow in Flanders Fields and other final resting places of those who died to protect our freedoms. They are visual reminders that we must never forget their sacrifices.
Contributions from the Royal Canadian Legion’s annual poppy campaign go directly to supporting Canada’s serving and retired veterans and their families. In Lacombe, money collected during the poppy campaign is placed in a public trust fund and is used to improve life for people in our community. Your donations go toward:
• Four $1,000 educational bursaries for students attending École Lacombe Composite High School and Lacombe Christian High School.
• Community medical donations – $5,000 donated to the Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre in 2016.
• School and student prizes for the annual Remembrance Day poster and literary (poem and essay) contests.
• Funding support for local community groups, based on an application process.
The Lacombe Legion offers an invaluable service to our community.
Their members have served Canada in all areas of the world, and they continue to host many educational ceremonies right here in Lacombe including the annual Remembrance Day service.
The legionnaires, including the Women’s Auxiliary, work hard to fundraise for community initiatives, and for the welfare of veterans and the families of fallen soldiers.
They also teach our youth to remember those who gave their lives for the freedoms that we enjoy today.
On behalf of Council and staff, I join the residents of Lacombe and Canadians coast to coast in saying a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to all veterans and those who continue serve this great nation.
We are indebted for the work you have done, and continue to do, at home and abroad. We salute you.
Steve Christie is the mayor of Lacombe.