Old Red Jacket Talker

Just an old RCMP dispatcher’s ramblings . . .

Remembrance Day

I finally get to take a breath once again after the November 11th Remembrance Day ceremony is over. You would think as the President, I should get to sit back a bit and have others take care of the business. Of course in a small town Legion Branch this just doesn’t happen. We need all the members we can to work towards putting on anything we do. Normally, there is a core of 10-15 members who do the majority of work and then a few more that will jump in and help at the last minute. It would appear that many of the same people are working at the various events over and over again. It does show that some of members are getting a bit tired and would like ‘new blood’ to take some of the load. Heck, I’ve only been a member of Hanley Branch for 4 years and I already feel a bit of that. Just think of the members that have been doing it for 15-25 years. Of course the veterans are not getting any younger and so it is hard for them to take up much of the load. They have had their time, now the torch is being given to the younger members. The trick is to get these members to take up the torch.

The ceremony did go off without too many glitches. Well, at least glitches that the local citizens would recognize. But all in all it did go over well. This was my first opportunity to be the chairman of the ceremony and of course I had a few anxious moments. Our member who was running the sound system was sort of impressed that I had no problem with the microphone. Some members are a bit shy of speaking into the mike, etc. I explained to him that after 30 years of yapping on radios through a microphone, I most definitely was not intimidated by them.

The local RCMP Detachment did not have anyone present at the ceremony (nor was there any contact with myself regarding my enquiries). However, we were very fortunate in that a member who was originally from Hanley was home for the service. As luck would have it she showed up in her red serge and after I approached her and plead my case, was more than willing to serve as our Canadian flag bearer and lead in our colour party. Thank you Bobbie Jo, you made our day.

The amount of local military members were a little shy this year as well. It would seem that most of the Dundurn establishment went to the Saskatoon ceremony. You can’t blame them in that it was billed as the 2nd largest indoor Remembrance Day ceremony in Canada in the city. We did have 3 members show up, with two of the members having their families along. The third member’s family travelled into Saskatoon for that ceremony.

The guest speaker was Lew Dudridge who was a long time member of the Hanley community who has now moved to BC to the warmer climate. He served in WWII as a pilot, is a former mayor of Hanley, a writer and a successful businessman. During his talk he drew from his experiences in the war and related it so there was a local flavour. Everyone I spoke to was more than happy with his talk (albeit he was a little long winded). The thought that he had a tendency to go over his allotted time is nothing new for Mr. Dudridge. He is well travelled, well spoken and more than willing to expound on many, many matters. After all, a fellow that is pushing 91 has many a thought to pass on to the younger crowd 🙂

After our service we had the Frank Ball orchestra come in and entertain the folks from 3:00 pm until 7:00 pm. The crowd was a little less than last year, but those that were present tried to make up for the shortage of people with their dancing. In an estimation we likely had around 100-125 people in attendance for the dance.

At 7:00 p.m. the Ladies Auxiliary put out a scrumptious ham, baked potato and all the trimmings supper. There was a small decline in folks attending supper as well. I believe there were 138 plates that were used where normally it is around 160 or so. Part of the decline would be because of the wintery conditions that were prevalent on November 11th in our area. Freezing rain, blowing snow and just blustery weather does not make for a very conducive driving situation. Of course a lot who normally attend are getting up in years and with conditions such that we had it is understandable they didn’t tempt the highway conditions.

A final count hasn’t been made, but it does appear that we didn’t go in the hole for the ceremony and may have made a few dollars. Not as many as some years, but then this has never been a ceremony where we were out to make money. The thought is to honour our veterans (old and new) and have a ceremony to ‘remember them’. I do believe we accomplished what we wanted to do.

‘We Will Remember Them’


November 16, 2008 - Posted by | Hanley, Legion

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