Southern Alberta Newspapers
The Royal Canadian Legion General Stewart Branch #4 lost 41 of its veterans in the past year.
On Saturday, members took the opportunity to honour each and every one of them. For the past 11 years, the General Stewart Branch #4 Ladies Auxiliary have been hosting the Tree of Remembrance ceremony.
Every year during the holiday season, family members and veterans gather at the Legion Memorial Hall to honour those who were lost. This year they paid tribute to those died between Oct. 31, 2015 and Oct. 31, 2016.
“We thought December would be a perfect time for people to remember the veterans. We have November, yes, but this is something different Ð special,” said Sharon Harper, secretary of the Tree of Remembrance committee.
All 41 names were read out loud as members of the Navy League Cadets brought candles before the Tree of Remembrance. One large candle was brought forward by Kisha Potts to pay tribute to all the veterans lost across the globe.
Each family was given a Christmas ornament to take home.
“That’s to put on their own tree so they can hang it up and remember the veteran,” said Harper.
Lena Moline attended the ceremony to honour the life of her late husband, Arthur Robert Moline, who died on May 13.
“After he retired, he did some travelling with his dear wife Jana, then he became a widow. He was a widow for five years and I was widowed for five years and then we got together and we were happily married for 16 years.”
Lena admits the holiday season is a difficult time of year for her.
“I’ve gone through it twice now, but at this time of year, it is a little bit hard but we’re given the strength to carry through.”
The Tree of Remembrance Ceremony allowed those in attendance to honour their loved ones and find support among each other.
“We let them know if they need help or a member of the family needs help, just come to the Legion and ask for help,” said Harper. “That’s what we’re here for, to help the veterans and their families.”