The Performing Arts Centre was crowded with community members from Stettler area and beyond as they came to pay respect and honour veterans on Friday, Nov. 11 observed as Remembrance Day across the country.
The master of ceremonies was Rosalind LaRose, District 4 Commander, AB-NWT Command of the Royal Legion who along with other legion members ensured that all guests had taken a seat before the ceremony began.
Present at the ceremony were Mayor Dick Richards, County Reeve Wayne Nixon and friends and families of veterans who had come to participate in the ceremony.
Pastor Ross Helgeton of Erskine Evangelical Church led the crowd with prayers and reflected on the importance of remembering.
“Remembering is very important. I can remember things from when I was two years old, but I will misplace my keys, my phone or the book that I’m reading with some regularity,” Pastor Helgeton said. “I have to sit down and think, and retrace my steps in order to find.”
Pastor Helgeton emphasized why we observe Remembrance Day.
“It is time to sit down and think, and retrace our steps – the steps of our lives, the lives of our forefathers and the life of our nation,” Pastor Helgeton said. “My memory was jogged this morning, as I put this poppy on this suit jacket. I was reminded of when my father had wanted to go to war, but he was too young. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe that if his parent signed for him, he could’ve gone earlier, but they refused.”
Pastor Helgeton added, “Not only did a remarkable number enlist, but they did so with eagerness and fervour. Interestingly, in my hospital work, I have met and visited with at least half a dozen gentlemen, who have lied about their age, so that they could enlist. Not in our nation, of course, but Walt Disney was one of those.”
Reflecting on the importance of remembering, Pastor Helgeton said, “Why is remembering, so important? Because if we don’t remember we will take all of the privilege and freedom of this nation for granted. Why is remembering so important? Because thankfulness grows out of remembrance – as we remember we are thankful.”
There was solemn silence at the PAC as everyone took in the message and contemplated on the significance of Remembrance Day.
LaRose acknowledged and welcomed guests and said, “I would like to thank all the veterans and their families for the freedoms we enjoy.”
She added, “Our lives are busy with work, volunteering, activities, friends and family, but each year we are given the chance to stop and reflect on what it means to be free and the cost of that freedom. How lucky we are to be given the opportunity to recognize the sacrifices made on our behalf.”
As LaRose conducted the ceremony she reminded to all those present, “Imagine what life would be like if we feared persecution because of the work we do, the place we live, or because of our beliefs. Our freedom is so ingrained in who we are, it is expected.” She went on to say, “Ceremonies like this one have been held for over 90 years. As guardians of Remembrance, The Royal Canadian Legion will ensure that these ceremonies will continue in the future.”
After the ceremony was over, guests were invited to join for a roast beef lunch at the Legion and visit with community members.