December 3rd, 2020

Poppy Flag raising at city hall helps kick off Veterans’ Week


By Woodard, Dale on November 6, 2020.

Dale Woodard

Lethbridge Herald

Remembrance Day is going to look a little different this year.

However, those who gave their lives will not be forgotten as the Poppy Flag was raised Thursday afternoon at city hall to kick off Veterans’ Week.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the usual Remembrance Day ceremonies this year, Glenn Miller, co-chair and public relations of the Lethbridge Legion, General Stewart Branch #4, stressed the importance of paying tribute to our veterans no matter what the current state of the world.

“It’s important to remember the sacrifice that has been made for peace of today,” said Miller. “Even during war, soldiers take the time on Remembrance Day to remember the past as well. So it’s important, regardless of the conditions. You can even do that privately as a citizen. It’s an act of remembrance. How you do that is based on where and in what conditions you can perform that.”

On a windy Thursday morning, the Poppy Flag was raised following speeches and prayers in front of city hall.

“Today the General Stewart Branch raised the Poppy Flag to commemorate the start of Veterans’ Week,” said Miller. “The government dedicated a whole week for Veterans’ Week in 2005 and we’ve done that ever since. It helps to bring to light to the citizens not just Remembrance Day, but that we’re starting to think about Remembrance Day, and I would encourage any citizen as you walk past a poppy box to stop and grab a poppy because it shows your respect to the veterans throughout Veterans’ Week. Not just on Remembrance Day.”

But due to the pandemic, this year’s ceremonies will be different.

“We’re encouraging the public not to attend because of the space around the cenotaph because of social distancing,” said Miller. “There will be a livestream on Facebook through the Lethbridge Legion, General Stewart Branch #4 (https://www.facebook.com/LegionGeneralStewartBranch4) and people can observe.”

In years past the 429 City of Lethbridge Squadron would do a fly-by over Lethbridge when possible, but this year they cannot, said Miller.

However, local citizen Geoffrey Brayne has volunteered to do a fly-pass in a Harvard Mark IV.

“After the fly-pass in Lethbridge he’s going to do a fly-pass over Coaldale and Raymond because one of our members is a World War II veteran who won the Distinguished Flying Cross from the Royal Canadian Air Force. It’s our way of honouring him in his community.”

In continuing to celebrate Veterans’ Week, the City has agreed to name a portion of 4 Avenue in front of city hall as Veterans’ Avenue.

“They put up a banner in front of the Cenotaph to mark that location and to show the citizens their support,” said Miller. “The City also shows their support to veterans year-round. Anyone who has a veteran’s licence plate does not have to pay parking for whatever amount of time is allocated for that parking area. We are greatly appreciative of the City for that act of remembrance.”

Follow @DWoodardHerald on Twitter

  • an earlier version of this story misidentified the veteran being honoured with the fly-pass
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