Sioux Lookout, Hudson remember
Tim Brody - Editor
Observing COVID-19 public health guidelines, the Edwin Switzer Memorial Sioux Lookout Legion, Branch #78 and Candlish Memorial, Branch 139, Royal Canadian Legion in Hudson will honour Canada’s veterans on Remembrance Day.
Kirk Drew, president of the Legion in Sioux Lookout said the Legion will share a virtual ceremony on Nov. 11.
A small group of participants will take part in the ceremony, which will be recorded by the Sioux Lookout Public Library prior to Nov. 11 and will be available to view on Remembrance Day on the Sioux Lookout Public Library’s YouTube channel, Youtube.com/slpubliclibrary. The Legion will also host the link on their Facebook page.
“We’re going to have the Act of Remembrance, we’ll have a couple wreaths being laid, we have the colour party coming on, there will be a slide show that we normally show during Remembrance Day with all the veterans from the area, and then there will be a couple of videos that we’ve picked up – O Canada, God Save the Queen,” Drew said.
The Legion Ladies Auxiliary will be serving beef on a bun via a drive-thru from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Legion’s back door for a donation.
Hudson Legion President Bob Starratt shared, “We will be holding a much shortened service. I will pre-set three wreaths honouring Army, Navy and Air Force. We will have O Canada and the Last Post, flag lowering and Reveille played on a stereo. As usual Reg Drew will again conduct the service and likely say a prayer at the end of it. We will not have a march, public/sponsored wreath laying or the usual luncheon afterwards.”
Starratt said of the outdoor service at the cenotaph in Hudson, “As the Facebook announcement says, we indicate that attendees have to wear a mask, stay in their group and distance from other groups.”
He added, “It is definitely a break from our traditional service this year but we felt that it was important to pay our respects as best we could within the safety guidelines.”
The ceremony will be at 11 a.m., however Starratt said, “I'll leave the wreaths up and flag lowered until around 2 p.m. so people can pay respects on their own schedule if need be.”
A project spearheaded by Sioux Lookout residents Dennis Leney and Nancy Roy for the renewal of the murals which grace the front of the Legion building has reached its fundraising goal, Leney said. New printed and laminated versions of the original murals were installed on Nov. 9.
Local organizations are also commemorating Canada’s veterans through window displays.
Sioux Area Seniors Activity Centre members Charron Sippola, Sandra Lockhart and Joan Kydd created a Remembrance Day scene on the senior centre’s windows.
A display also graces the windows of the Nishnawbe-Gamik Friendship Centre (NGFC).
NGFC Program Manager Ashely Edwards explained, “Normally every year we try to hold a special event for Indigenous Veterans Day, which is November 8. With COVID and all the restrictions and all of the gathering limitations, we really were trying to think outside the box this year and see what way we could inform the community, inspire the community to honour our Indigenous veterans. In the past, we have used our window display for different events and one year for Blueberry (Festival) we did a big mountain scene, so we thought we could utilize that area just to remind people about Indigenous Veterans Day as well as Veterans’ Week, which is November 5th to the 11th.”
Edwards added, “Meghan Wilson and the Urban Aboriginal Healthy Living Program did a colouring/drawing activity page for all the schools. She sent them pages containing the Indigenous Veterans Monument that is in Ottawa, so kids had the ability to colour that or come up with their own design. On the back of the page she included the history of the monument and the history of Indigenous Veterans’ Day.”
Finished pages adorn the window.
“I spent some time doing a bit of research and I found some notable Indigenous veterans who won quite prestigious medals throughout the wars, World War I as well as the Korean War and World War II. So I did my best to find photos of them… and I put those up. I also came across a few of our employees here, they had family members who were in the war as well, so we got some photos of them in their uniforms and we put those up,” Edwards said.
“Jim Oskineegish (Kizhaay Anishinabe Niin Worker) he came up with the idea to put some soldiers kneeling down, saluting to the statue, which is the centrepiece of our display and that is the same statute that is in Ottawa, the Indigenous Veterans Memorial Statue,” she continued.
The Friendship Centre also posted some information videos and short remembrance clips on their Facebook page. They will also be sharing the National Film Board’s documentary Forgotten Warriors.
A video featuring Life Long Care worker Allan Walski singing an honour song for veterans has also been posted to the Friendship Centre’s Facebook page.
Names of Indigenous veterans also adorn the window.
Nancy McCord and her family continued a fundraiser last week, donating all funds to the Legion’s Poppy Campaign.
The McCords have been painting poppies on rocks and selling them for a donation to the fund and as of the evening of Oct. 8, $1612.55 had been raised.
Nancy McCord shared, “We are just beyond words with how this fundraising campaign has been received in our area. The generosity and support for the cause has been overwhelming. Our family had initially painted 100-150 rocks to sell with 100% of the funds donated going to the local Legion Poppy Campaign. We have been busy painting more all week as the demand is still there. We have had rocks go all over our province and have even had friends from Alberta send money to put towards our fundraiser.”
She concluded, “We truly can't express enough gratitude to those who have been supporting our fundraising efforts and are really looking forward to sharing our final total with everyone once all of the rocks are all gone. We are planning to do this fundraiser again next year as we have really had a lot of fun and have learned a lot as a family about the importance of the poppy and what the campaign stands for.”