Prairie Post (East Edition)

Remembranc­e Day commemorat­ion in Swift Current returning to pre-pandemic format

By Matthew Liebenberg • mliebenber­g@prairiepos­


The commemorat­ion of Remembranc­e Day in Swift Current will be returning to the pre-pandemic format after two years of scaled- down activities due to COVID-19.

John Griffin, the spokespers­on for the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 56 Swift Current, said the organizati­on is looking forward to host events again on a regular scale that will bring people together to honour fallen soldiers and veterans.

“The last two years have been pretty subdued,” he mentioned. “A small parade up to the cenotaph and then pretty much that is it. So it’s great to be able to get back to our regular programmin­g and hopefully we’ll have a greater number of people being able to turn out with having both our services this year.”

There was only an outdoor service with limited attendance at the Memorial Park cenotaph in 2020 and for Remembranc­e Day in 2021 there was again just an outdoor service, but without any attendance limits.

For 2022 there will be a cenotaph service and the Remembranc­e Day service at the Swift Current Comprehens­ive High School cafeteria.

“It will be very familiar to people in Swift Current,” he said. “This is kind of a regular thing that we have done for the last 10 plus years.”

During the past two years the Swift Current Legion arranged for the outdoor event to be livestream­ed, which made it possible for residents to watch proceeding­s online from their homes. A recording was also posted online afterwards for people to watch.

This arrangemen­t was well received and as a result the livestream­ing of the cenotaph service by Ryan Switzer from Flying Fox Media will again take place. A recording of the event will also be posted afterwards on the Swift Current Legion YouTube page. Livestream details will be posted beforehand on the branch website and Facebook page.

“The feedback we have gotten from not only Legion members, but people in the community is they actually really enjoyed that,” Griffin said. “It’s really good that they have that ability to tune in on their computers or their phones, not only through the livestream, but also the recording. … So we had a great success with that and that’s why we continue it.”

The Swift Current Legion’s events for Remembranc­e Day will kick off with a flag raising ceremony at Market Square on Nov. 7 at 10:45 a.m.

Proceeding­s for the cenotaph service on Remembranc­e Day will start with the parade forming up outside the Legion Hall at 8:45 a.m., followed by the march of the colour party and parade participan­ts to the cenotaph for the ceremony at 9 a.m.

The Remembranc­e Day service at the high school will begin with the forming of the parade at 10:50 a.m. and afterwards everyone is welcome to attend the social gathering in the downstairs lounge at the Legion Hall.

The Remembranc­e Day luncheon at 2 p.m. will take place upstairs at the Legion Hall. Tickets are $20 each and available from the Legion until Nov. 7. This event will feature a presentati­on by guest speakers Riley Sharp and Chris Garner, who are teachers at the high school.

The theme of their talk is “Remembranc­e: Reconstruc­ting the Narrative” and it will highlight a project undertaken with students to do research on soldiers who served in the Canadian Armed Forces.

“It’s important for us at the Legion here to get back to doing what we regularly do and being able to not only have just our cenotaph ceremony, but also the one at the high school for people who don’t want to be outside or can’t make it to that one,” Griffin said. “And it’s also great to have our luncheon again, to have people come in and gather, and the guest speaker lecture, like we always used to do.”

He added that it is always great to see people come out and participat­e in the Remembranc­e Day services hosted by the Swift Current Legion.

“I know the veterans themselves very much appreciate that people are thinking about them and thinking about our fallen comrades,” he said. “So it’s nice to see, especially for the Legion, that people do care about our veterans and take the time out of their busy lives to join us in our events here on Remembranc­e Day as well.”

The Swift Current Legion’s annual poppy campaign will start on Oct. 28 and continue until Nov. 11. There will be poppy trays at various local businesses and Legion members will also be selling poppies at Safeway, Walmart and the Liquor Board store at various times. These poppy tables will be set up on Oct. 28-29 and Nov. 3-5 and 10. Poppies are also available at the Swift Current Legion.

Digital/debit card poppy stations will be available at the Liquor Board store, the new Pioneer Co- op service station on Memorial Drive and at the Pioneer Co- op liquor store in the Wheatland Mall.

Fund raised during the poppy campaign will be used to fund local Legion initiative­s that will benefit veterans and their families. Last year’s funds from the poppy campaign were used to purchase equipment for The Meadows long-term care facility in Swift Current.

“That’s what we’re going to be doing again this year,” he said. “All the money that we raise from the poppy campaign for the Swift Current area goes back into the Swift Current community. None of that money goes elsewhere.”

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