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Decoration Day

Most people, when they think of remembering those who died or served their country in time of war or peace, think of Remembrance Day.
Decoration Day

Most people, when they think of remembering those who died or served their country in time of war or peace, think of Remembrance Day. However, there is another day that we also remember, known as Decoration Day, observed by many Royal Canadian Legion Branches across Canada. 

Last year the Zone 22 area event was held in Lenore, this year Elkhorn Legion saw 40 people in attendance. The Legion and Auxiliary members did a short march along the main street with Captain Kelvon Smith (retired), the parade commander. Members in the parade came from Kenton, Virden and Elkhorn marched down the street, the flag colours flying in the wind.

Elkhorn Legion President Garth Mitchell, acted as emcee, welcoming everyone as the colour party stood in the background of the village cenotaph. Several members of the parade and audience laid wreaths in memory of the fallen. One of the wreaths being laid was by 94 year-old Jack Houston of Kenton, one of the few remaining WW II soldiers who served in the XII Manitoba Dragoons Regiment of Westman fame, however as he would say, “They were all good regiments”.

Following the laying of the last wreath, the crowd was led in the singing of O Canada followed by prayers led by Reverend Marianne Olfrey. This was followed by The Last Post, two minutes of silence and the Act of Remembrance led by Mitchell. With the playing of reveille and a final benediction offered by Reverend Olfrey, the colour party was dismissed and everyone was invited back to the Legion Hall to hear the guest speaker.

The guest speaker was former Elkhorn resident Colonel Gordon Brennand (retired) of the RCAF.

He gave a brief history of Decoration Day and then went on to talk about Canada’s role in WW I and II, with special emphasis on the role played by the RCAF during the wars, in the Cold War and its service with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

He asked us to remember that so many of those who died in the service of their country were so very young. While on stage he gave a call out to Jack Houston, who came out for the ceremony, and thanked him for his service to Canada.

Brennand concluded by asking us to remember all who lost their lives in times of peace and war while serving Canada. Mitchell thanked him and added, as a youth in the community he had always seen Mr. Brennand as a leader.

There was one final blessing by Reverend Olfrey and a great light lunch was served by the Branch members, followed by a time of fellowship and comradeship. President Mitchell said he was pleased how the ceremony went and was very pleased by the attendance of Legion and Axillary members from other area branches.