SPRINGHILL – It was a beautiful day to remember.
In previous years, Remembrance Day has been dogged by frigid temperatures, torrential rain and a snowstorm that witnessed veterans resembling snowmen before services concluded. But this year the skies were clear and temperatures were mild, drawing a large crowd to the service.
Absent a leading vocalist, the crowd sung O’Canada and God Save the Queen uninhibited in honour of the fallen and for the benediction Rev. Frank Likely forsake the microphone, choosing instead to deliver the blessing from the foot of the cenotaph to the hundreds that came out.
It was a very participatory service for the community but it did not go unnoticed the number of veterans from World War II, Korea and peacekeeping missions has dwindled.
Susan Lowther, president of Legion Branch No. 17 here in Springhill, says the loss of veterans age and time is reflected in the loss of support the Legion has received as of late, but hopes the enthusiasm of the community to honour its veterans could mean a turn around for the organization.
“We need more of the town involved if we want to keep our Legion,” Lowther said.
The Legion offers bursaries to youth, support to veterans in nursing homes and the families of enlisted members of the Canadian Services, Lowther says. The veterans of now-historic wars are making way for new veterans, some still enlisted in the military, and the Legion has a role to play for these members and their families. When a soldier hailing from Springhill was injured in Afghanistan, the Legion was able to go into action to support he family during what was uncertain times.
“It was nice to pick up the phone and say ‘If you need to go, we’ll cover the cost of the ticket,’” Lowther said. “Community support lets us be active behind the scenes like that.”
Dr. Arnold Burden, a veteran of WWII, was a young man when he joined the Legion in 1945. His father, a veteran of the first World War, was one of the founders of the Legion in Springhill and both have had high hopes their service would mean an end to seeing young men and women go to war. Supporting the Legion, Burden says, offers support to the enlisted who carry that charge today.
“To see the young men and women today still serving – we don’t ant to see them serve, we want to see peace – we need to support them and that’s what the Legion does,” Dr. Burden said. “The Legion has a role to play for the service people and new veterans.”
Membership to the Legion was restricted to those who had served in the Canadian Armed Forces, but today the restrictions have lessened and the criteria for an associate member includes anyone who is the child, stepchild, adopted child, grandchild, sibling, niece/nephew, widow or widower, parent or spouse of someone who is or was eligible for ordinary membership. Application to Springhill’s Legion Branch No. 17 can be made by contacting the Legion at 902-597-2049.
For more images from the Remembrance Day in Springhill, visit our slideshow: http://www.cumberlandnewsnow.com/Slideshow/7450/Springhill-Remembers-in-Pictures/1