July 20th, 2024

Packed crowd honours sacrifices of Canadian soldiers at Exhibition


By Justin Seward - Lethbridge Herald on November 14, 2023.

Herald Photo by Justin Seward Sea Cadet Eliam Tremblay salutes during the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Agri-Food Hub and Trade Centre on Saturday.

Dozens of people packed a hall at the Agri-Food Hub and Trade Centre on Saturday morning to remember the fallen soldiers and the sacrifices they made during a Remembrance Day ceremony.

The ceremony’s honorary parade marshal and retired paratrooper Herbert L. Johnson was a young man in the Montreal who decided to join the army in 1950 while his family and friends became railway porters.

It was in 1952 that he along with other soldiers reported to Fort Louis, Wash., where they got aboard a Second World War Liberty ship to Korea.

“Well it was all new, it was exciting, I didn’t know what to expect,” said Johnson.

“I didn’t know what was going on. I was just a follower as opposed to a leader. So, yeah, I did what I was told and I did it to the best of my ability and I guess I made it this far today.”

Johnson felt good to serve in the military.

“I feel that I’ve done something for society,” he said.

“(It is) something that my country asked me to do, and I did it, and I believe I did it well and so I’m happy with that. Then I found out what the outcome was and why we were in Korea and all the rest of it. That made sense and that made more sense for me to be there. After coming back from Korea, I ended up spending another 25 years in the military.”

In those years, he spent time overseas in places like Germany Norway, Denmark, Egypt, Palestine, Gaza Strip and down with United States bases.

Sgt. Alex Holley with the 11th Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron was asked about what Remembrance Day means.

“Honestly, a lot of things, he said.

“Mostly … just the people that fell for the war and the people that don’t have names, the unknown soldier. I am military family, my dad was military, and I’m planning on joining the military to fight for my country. And because to me, it means a lot that a lot of people that fell during the war, we don’t know.”

Trish Ross-Nelson had the opportunity to watch her grandsons participate with Scouts and Cadets respectively at the ceremony.

“So that they can grow up remembering the service that other people pay to the country,” said Ross-Nelson.

“And that perhaps they will one day go into service for their country as well.”

She had an uncle who was killed in the Second World War that she never met.

“That was my dad’s brother and our family talked about him all the time,” she said.

“So, it’s good to remember and so many lives are affected by people who have served and we don’t even realize.”

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