By Lethbridge Herald on November 18, 2018.
HART ceremony brings Canadians and Americans together
For the eighth year, the Canadian and American air cadets have paid respects and honoured each other’s military members for the Honouring Allies and Remembering Together (HART) ceremony.
This year, the Lethbridge Vimy Ridge Armoury hosted more than 100 Royal Canadian Air Cadets, Royal Canadian Sea Cadets and Royal Canadian Army Cadets. Along with them, around 60 American Civil Air Patrol Cadets paraded together to celebrate HART.
“It is about honouring and remembering families who have lost loved ones in combat, and remembering their commitment and their sacrifice so that these cadets and us can live and be free and we can enjoy the liberties that our country offers,” says Lorraine Forsen, HART Committee Chair, South Wing Director of Air Cadet League of Alberta.
“We have cadets from ages 12 to 21 come today and I think that it is a great reminder to them for what it is really about, because it is not just all fun and games, it is about honouring and always remembering the people who have given and the people who are still giving.”
The HART ceremony recognized the legacy and service of all veterans on both sides of the Canada/United States border. The ceremony is also referred to as Wreaths Across America, because of the presentation of an American memorial wreath to Memorial Silver Cross Families whose sons were killed in Afghanistan, and the Canadian wreaths presented to the Gold Star Wives.
“Today we have two Memorial Cross families who have been with us since inception. We are honouring their sons who were killed in Afghanistan and we are honouring those who give service to our organization and remembering those that died for our freedom and teaching,” says Darlene LaRoche, advisor with the Alberta provincial committee.
“It is a very thoughtful service, very similar to a Remembrance Day ceremony but with more personal touches to it because we are honouring those families.”
The joining of the two allied countries not only is a way for both to pay their respects to each others lost and continuing members, but it is also a way for them to grow as a squadron by sharing advice and information on how each countries cadet programs do.
“We are teaching our young people to honour their freedom and why they have it, and this is part of all of that for the cadet program,” says LaRoche. “It is also an excellent time for our cadets to implement goals between the two countries and share their experiences for what it is like in their squadrons compared to the Canadian ones, and we will do a lot of team building over the weekend which is always a good thing.”
Over the weekend, the cadets will bond together through various activities, give presentations on their programs and learn new ways to grow and strengthen their squadron.
Last year’s HART ceremony brought out over 250 cadets and officers to the Lethbridge Vimy Ridge Armoury and was the largest service of its kind in North America. This year’s ceremony brought out a number of Canadian and American military personnel, along with several local dignitaries including the mayors of Lethbridge and Taber to show their respects.
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