By Kenyon Stronski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Halloween is just around the corner, and upon its conclusion, we turn the page to the month of November — a month of remembrance.
2021 is a special year for a couple of reasons; the first being the takeoff of the Veteran’s Banner Initiative, where individuals can sponsor veterans and have a banner made for them to be shown from Nov. 1 to Nov. 11. Additionally, 2021 also marks the 100 anniversary of the introduction of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance, and there will be special poppies available for those who wish to purchase them.
Due to public health measures in 2020 — Taber wasn’t able to host a proper, formal Remembrance service, however Cst. Chris Nguyen, a member of the Remembrance Committee, noted that even though it was virtual, it was still nice.
“Traditionally, we hold quite a meaningful and significant Remembrance service at the community centre every year and it’s really just amazing. We have such an outpouring of support from our community and it’s a great thing, so it was quite sad we weren’t able to hold one in 2020. We’re extremely passionate about this because of all the hard work, sacrifices, and dedication of all our service personnel, military, and frontline responders. This country has contributed a great deal to world peace through the efforts of these men and women in World War One and Two alongside other conflicts and peacekeeping missions. That’s why it’s very important to recognize and celebrate our communities contributions and the work of our veterans.”
“What we have here is very special and phenomenal. We’d love to make it more accessible to everyone and I think we’re always nearing capacity. It’s extremely well attended, and if we are to make it better maybe we could live stream it or maybe try and find a bigger venue so we can accommodate absolutely everyone that wants to be there.”
There’s a whole series of events leading up to Remembrance Day. The Dominion Command Poppy Campaign Launch Ceremony begins Oct. 29 at 11 a.m. and will be at the Administration Building. This marks the 100th anniversary of the poppy. On Oct. 30 and Nov. 6, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., will be sessions one and two of the Poppy Campaign and is available to the public at absolutely no cost, however, donations are accepted gratefully and used to support local Veterans. For those who would like to purchase a wreath to be displayed at the cenotaph, you can do so through the Legion Office Monday to Friday between 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
“You don’t have to post a cost for it, we just want you to wear it, respect it, and remember the sacrifices; but if you’d like to make a donation it’s for a good cause. It’s available for everyone and it can be worn however you want to wear it, as long as you do wear it.”
Taber has many service personnel and veteran’s families residing within town and in the surrounding communities.
“The Canadian Armed Forces are actually very low-key about our involvement and how many people are actually within the community — but we have a lot here. The beautiful thing about southern Alberta is it’s got that small-town mentality — grassroots — and I think we just hold to these values, beliefs and principles as a community stronger than most larger centres, so we’re grateful for that.”
Currently, Taber has two living WWII veterans residing in the community.
“We’d really like to give them an opportunity to share their experiences, speak at these events, and just share their first-hand knowledge with us so we never forget the sacrifices that they made.”
Annually, there is also a veterans supper that is hosted by the Royal Canadian Legion and the Ladies Auxiliary Branch. Tickets are available for purchase from the Legion Office and as per tradition, the Taber Police Service will serve all attendees.
The event will comply will all requirements of the Alberta Restrictions Exemption Program and is slated to begin Nov. 10 at 5 p.m.
The Veterans Flag Ceremony beings at 8 a.m. on Nov. 11 where 225 RCACS Air Cadets, their CAF officers, and members of the Royal Canadian Legion will attend the cemetery to conduct an Eternal Flame Lighting Ceremony then place a flag at each Veteran’s grave. Following this will be the virtual Remembrance Day Service that will be hosted virtually and live-streamed to any member of the public at www.facebook.com/TaberLegion.