By Lethbridge Herald on November 24, 2020.
Every community that exists is built on, and entwined with, that which comes before.
In Lethbridge the fabric of the community is made up of the organizations and institutions, and the generations, which have sweated and strived to create the prosperity we all enjoy today. For 125 years the Lethbridge Herald has chronicled the community, shared its story, and over time has come to represent, in many people’s minds, the living memory of the community.
Local military historian, veteran, Lethbridge Military Museum and General Stewart Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion representative Glenn Miller says more than any other media outlet the Lethbridge Herald embodies that sense of living memory.
“It is important to help preserve the legacy of those who went to fight for our freedom,” he says, “and the history associated with that by helping to educate readers at all levels on what has been done, and what is being done, which is military-related in the community. As a military historian, for me the Lethbridge Herald has been instrumental in the coverage they have provided in this region of Alberta in helping current generations reach back to their military history and heritage.”
But it’s not just military history, says Miller. The Herald writes a new page in its ongoing 125-year history of the community– the most important continuous, historic chronicle of community life– each and every day.
“Every day the Lethbridge Herald is writing its historical chronicle of the community,” he confirms, “and as part of the archive being on the six o’clock news for a particular event two years from now is not necessarily going to be available. Whereas the print form medium offers the ability for those who can go back and physically touch that article, photocopy that article, or refer to that article, and share that article with others. The Herald contributes to the living memory of the community, and as an historian I am always reading through old newspapers.”
Miller also praises The Herald’s free Community Calendar which the Legion, the Military Museum and so many other local organizations rely on to get the word out about their events and happenings, but, for him, it all comes down to what The Herald does to support local veterans.
“The Herald historically has been a very strong supporter of the military in the community in the coverage they provide,” he says. “Whenever there is a military-related event, the coverage is always there.”
Exhibition Park is another institution which has grown alongside the community for the past 130 years. Bruce Galts, president of the current board of Exhibition Park, says both The Herald and Exhibition Park are an important part of the fabric of the community.
“Obviously Exhibition Park has been around for a long time, and so has The Herald,” he says. “There are not too many organizations that can brag about that length of time either one of them have been in this city.
“Having an awareness about what Exhibition Park is doing, and all the activities we do for the community is important to the culture and identity of Lethbridge and surrounding area. I think The Herald is a key part of helping promote that message and make sure people know what we are doing at Exhibition Park.”
As Exhibition Park enters a new and exciting era with its upcoming expansion, Galts says there is tremendous merit in remembering what has come before, and giving a tip of the hat to local institutions who give a sense of continuity to the community.
“I think having an identity as a community is as much about the organizations that have been there for, and a part of the community, for so long,” he says. “That identity Lethbridge has, and those of the surrounding areas, is important to us all. Based on that, organizations like Exhibition Park are a key part of the history of Lethbridge, but so is The Herald.”
Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden Society executive director Michelle Day says it is difficult to understate the importance The Herald has had, and continues to have, on the community and, in particular, her organization.
“Former Lethbridge Herald publisher Cleo Mowers was one of our founding members, with him, Kurt Steiner, and Rev. (Yutetsu) Kawamura,” she explains. “The three of them had a vision to create a Japanese garden in Lethbridge. All three for different reasons. Cleo Mowers’ reason was very sentimental in the fact that he knew the history of those of Japanese ancestry in southern Alberta, and he also understood how far the community had come for accepting diversity, celebrating different cultures, etc. He thought that a garden would be something of a beautiful benefit to our community.”
The Society continues to honour Mowers by holding Mowers Happy Hours every Friday evening throughout the summer months, she says, and continues to enjoy a strong relationship with The Herald to this day.
“The Lethbridge Herald has been so supportive of the garden in numerous ways,” she says. “The Herald is a way we have to communicate and educate the public about our programming, whether it is cultural, historical or horticulturally based. The Herald has been a corporate sponsor of our events, and they have always come when we have news to share. And The Herald has provided documentation of the garden’s history. We have had to connect with The Herald to get information about the opening in 1967 or the 25th anniversary. The Herald has provided us with that record.”
If you have a personal story to tell about The Herald’s importance to you, we encourage you to contact your local city council representatives to let them know why you support your local newspaper.