By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on October 4, 2023.
Banners displaying veterans with historical military significance will be strategically placed on select city light poles in the city to honour the veterans and promote awareness for Remembrance Day.
Paul Brundige, president of the General Stewart Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, said Tuesday during a ceremony at Exhibition Park, its the second year the organization has conducted the “Salute Our Veterans Project,” following a successful and motivational first year.
“The Legion received positive feedback from the community after the first-year display was installed around the city,” said Brundige. “The banners themselves provided inspiration for more banners to be sponsored again for the second year by families, businesses and organizations to honour and salute veterans who have served past and present.”
The banners can be seen primarily, but not solely, on the southside in the area of city hall on 4 Avenue, on 10 Street by the Masonic Hall, and by the old Lethbridge train station on 1 Avenue. They are also installed along a small section of 8 Street, on 3 Avenue near Galt Gardens, and between 5 and 7 Streets.
Of particular relevance is the the old train station, “which of course, is the location where many of our veterans passed through to go off to the First World War and Second World War, and then came back through that train station in the First and Second World War,” said Ray Romses, chairperson of the Lethbridge Military Museum.
Romses said of the four goals of the veterans project, the first is to engage the community by honouring the veterans. The second goal is to promote more awareness in the community for Remembrance Day, and the third is education.
“The third aim is to help educate both our young and our old citizens of this area with regard to the faces and names of our veterans, and of course, to be able to tell the stories of those individuals.”
Romses said he hopes the banners will impact and educate future generations in the community about veterans.
“The fourth thing is hopefully to ensure remembrance in our future generations. Because the number of our veterans is fast reducing, last year you may recall that we put up 80 veterans’ banners throughout the city in five specific locations that all had military relevance.”
Romses said the project was rolled out in two phases. The first phase was the installation of the banners, which was done last Sunday. The banners will remain until Nov. 11. The second phase of the project was the creation of a website, which can be viewed at https://lethbridgeveteransbanners.ca.
“There’s lots of information there; that’s part of our educational part of this program.”
Romses gave thanks to the members of the veterans’ banner committee; Daniel Gosselin, Glenn Miller, Dennis Chinner, and Wayne King for the hard work they have put into the project.
“They’ve all put a lot of work into this project over the last several years,” said Romses.