60 years and count­ing

Branch 23 Royal Cana­dian Le­gion launches 60th an­niver­sary

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY BILL BOW­MAN

The Royal Cana­dian Le­gion Branch 23 Car­bon­ear kicked off its 60th an­niver­sary dur­ing this year’s an­nual Re­mem­brance Day ban­quet.

Some 140 Le­gion­naires and guests turned out at the club Nov. 13 to help launch the event.

On Nov. 15, 1950, 21 ex-ser­vice­men from the area met on the same Ban­ner­man Street site, where the club is lo­cated to­day.

With a cur­rent mem­ber­ship of 147, Car­bon­ear is an ac­tive branch, which serves the north shore of Con­cep­tion Bay to Bay de Verde and, since the clo­sure of Branch 6 in New Per­li­can, the south shore of Trin­ity Bay to Heart’s Con­tent.

Aside from help­ing area vet­er­ans and their wid­ows, branch mem­bers serve on the board of Char­wood Le­gion Manor. The branch sup­ports the area’s youth, pro­vid­ing schol­ar­ships and mak­ing its hall avail­able to the town’s Girl Guide Move­ment. They also spon­sor 589 Air Cadet Squadron.

Branch pres­i­dent Mike Butt told the au­di­ence, when­ever they are called upon to do so, “ we will spon­sor fundrais­ers for in­di­vid­u­als in need of as­sis­tance.”

Last year, Butt noted they do­nated to some 25 groups and or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Point­ing out that the vet­er­ans’ num­bers are dwin­dling, Butt noted in the two years he has been pres­i­dent of the branch, he has had the sad duty to at­tend the fu­ner­als of five de­ceased vet­er­ans.

“ There are only about 12-14 vet­er­ans left in the branch,” he ob­served.

Re­fer­ring to those who paid the supreme sac­ri­fice, he sug­gested, “if we don’t re­mem­ber them, their lives will have been given in vain.”

He asked each mem­ber of his au­di­ence to turn and thank a vet­eran for their ser­vice.

Stressing the im­por­tance of en­cour­ag­ing youth to re­mem­ber the vet­er­ans’ con­tri­bu­tion to peace, he asked, “if we don’t teach these young peo­ple to re­mem­ber, who will?”

He said the Le­gion was pleased to be able to host an ex­hibit by Alis­tair Rice, called The Poppy and the Cari­bou, dur­ing Re­mem­brance Week.

The ex­hibit at­tracted hun­dreds of school chil­dren, “ who were amazed to see some of their own sur­names on the wall,” Butt said.

Rice, who was guest speaker for the event, spoke for about 30 min­utes on the im­pact vis­it­ing the war ceme­ter­ies of Europe, where thou­sands of fallen sol­diers are buried, has had on his life.

Re­mind­ing his au­di­ence we are near­ing the 100th an­niver­sary of the be­gin­ning of the First World War, Rice sug­gested their sac­ri­fice must never be for­got­ten.

As far as re­mem­ber­ing them is concerned, he con­cluded, “af­ter all is said and done, the choice rests with each one of us.”

Mayor Sam Slade called the branch’s 60th an­niver­sary, “a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone which should be cel­e­brated.”

Slade com­mended the Le­gion for this year’s Re­mem­brance Day pa­rade, which was “ the largest pa­rade I’ve seen in many years.” He was es­pe­cially en­cour­aged to see the num­ber of youth who turned out for this year’s event.

The Re­mem­brance Week events were the first of a year-long se­ries of events the branch plans to hold to mark their 60th an­niver­sary.

A ta­ble set dur­ing the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion’s Re­mem­brance Day ban­quet re­mained empty dur­ing the event. Branch 23 Pres­i­dent Mike Butt (at podium) ex­plained the ta­ble was set in hon­our of a missing com­rade. District 2 Com­man­der Berkley Lawrence and his wife, Sarah, sec­re­tary of Branch 23 were among the head ta­ble guests.

Alis­tair Rice (right), who or­ga­nized an ex­hibit called the Poppy and The Cari­bou, ac­cepts a gift from Branch 23 Pres­i­dent Mike Butt. Rice was also guest speaker for the branch’s Re­mem­brance Day ban­quet held Nov. 13

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