By Ian Croft
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
It is important to remember historical events that have occurred — as Winston Churchill stated, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
That is why Emily Hembrough, Art, Culture and Events Coordinator and Meghan Brennan, Communications and Projects Coordinator, are working together on a project to preserve the history of Taber and those who have lived within the town.
“The oral history project is a branch out further from the veteran banner project,” said Hembrough. “We’re starting with veterans this year and we’re hoping to interview six to eight living veterans from Taber or the M.D. of Taber, and compile it into many, many, different things. The biggest is a documentary that we hope to play at our Remembrance Day ceremony this year as well as creating smaller clips that we could share tidbits of information from veterans. We’re going to do walking tours of the banners that are going to have key quotes from these histories and the application forms. We’re hoping that with the documentary and with getting the oral histories — there’s a really good Canadian history grant that is for publications. If we have these oral histories, potentially in future years we can turn them into small books about Taber and area. The first chapter will be about veterans. Which is a very good start to a history book about our town.”
Hembrough further went into detail about how veterans can apply to have their stories recorded within the oral history project.
“The application forms are on our website (www.taber.ca/veterans). It’s free to apply for any veteran who wants to be a participant, but it does have lots of checkboxes of what they’re willing and hoping to participate in. Whether they actually be filmed, or if they just want to have an audio-only interview, or if they only want to present photographs, memorabilia, or a written application form of a story are all welcome. We hope to get lots of applicants and around a really good diversity of our veterans in our community to create those what I think is an amazing project for veterans.”
Hembrough continued to discuss the importance of this project for the town.
“The main thing that comes to my mind is the fact that many of our veterans are elderly and a lot of people our age haven’t lived through what they lived through. We live freely but we live freely because of these veterans, so it’s a good project for us to learn from, a good project to just remember what they did, and a good project to preserve the stories of these men and women will hopefully share with us. We’re hoping, with their permission, we will be able to share it (their stories) with our local schools, our local museums, and our legions, and there’s a similar project Canada-wide that we’re hoping to share with our whole country. I think it’s a very important time to get it before we don’t have the veterans to be able to speak of their stories anymore.”
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