Community asked to rally around Remembrance Day
Getting more participation in Remembrance Day to reverse a trend of sparsely attended events is a key focus of Swift Current’s 2017 ceremonies.
Andy Keys is heading a committee that has already launched a series of plans for the November 10-11 weekend to attract more participation in both new and traditional Remembrance Day events in the community. And, he is hoping the event snowballs into a larger scale observance.
Keys, who served with the British military, is not content to see attendance numbers dwindle year after year.
“I’ve been going down to the Legion every since I’ve been in town,” Keys notes. “I see every year that the World War II veterans are dying off, the attendance down there gets less and less every year.”
“It’s something that I just want to try and give a kick start to again.”
Keys hopes to close off a few downtown streets in order to host an outdoor display of World War II vintage vehicles. He also envisions other attractions, and downtown businesses getting involved to add to the range of activities in and around the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #56.
“I want to involve the whole of downtown if I can,” an enthusiastic Keys admitted.
The Lyric Theatre will be hosting something during the weekend, and the Swift Current Museum will be sharing a war era display at the Legion.
With Remembrance Day falling on a Saturday this year, the community will again be invited to participate in the Cenotaph Ceremony and the community observation at SCCHS. There will again be the traditional Remembrance Day luncheon, but additional events are occurring on November 11 at the Legion. The evening will feature a concert by Rosie and the Riveters, and seating capacity will be 375 for the concert and evening activities. Both the Green Braes Pipes and Drums plus the Swift Current Shrine Band will be sharing their talents during the evening.
“I want to bring back the feel, and the era of it all,” Keys admitted, noting that organizers are encouraging people to Remembrance Day committee chairperson Andy Keys is pictured with Flight Corporal Mitchell Candler and Leading Air Cadet Wyatt Retzlaff from 259 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Drylander and the artwork that is being raffled off in support of the Remembrance Day 2017 activities in Swift Current. dress up in 40s attire, and wear vintage uniforms to add to the atmosphere of the observation.
“It’s also to bring awareness to the Legion, to highlight what the Legion does in the community. They do a lot for local groups, support local charities.”
Keys says it is a shame that a number of events have lost momentum, but this year is the time to do something about it.
“I’ve wanted it to happen for a long time. Sitting in the Legion last year, we thought next year is on a Saturday, so lets get off our butts and do something about it this time.”
He also hopes that some patriotism rubs off during the Canada 150 excitement this year, and the public desires to make Remembrance Day a larger observation because of the nation we have become thanks to the sacrifice of those who fought in wartime.
“It’s a tremendous time. It all fits in. We couldn’t have planned that day better. I think this will just top the year off.”