By David Brown, Rideau-Jock Councillor
At the time of writing this column, Ottawa is observing Veterans’ Week and communities throughout the City are preparing Remembrance Day ceremonies. However, by the time you are reading this column, it is likely that these ceremonies have come and gone, that folks are no longer wearing their poppies, and many are getting ready for winter and Christmas.
While Remembrance Day is a special opportunity to reflect on the invaluable sacrifices contributions of veterans to preserving our freedom, democracy, and way of life, it is not the only opportunity that we have to recognize and support veterans in our communities.
Our ward is fortunate to have two wonderful Legion branches – the Richmond and Manotick Legions. They are responsible for organizing Remembrance Day ceremonies of course, but they also provide care, service, and advocacy for those who have served our country by remembering their sacrifices and continuing their tradition of service throughout our communities.
It relies on members and volunteers, folks working diligently behind the scenes to ensure that our veterans are supported, that our communities are served, and that the legacy of remembrance is preserved. This is a year-round commitment that includes the vital ceremonies and activities around November 11th while also going much further.
Though there is a belief that the Legions primarily serve Veterans who are seniors, this is a misconception. Legions support Veterans of all ages and indeed have robust programs to encourage education, leadership, and sport for youth within our communities through partnerships with other organizations such as the Cadets. As a former Air Cadet, I can personally attest to the value of the Legion in supporting programming aimed at young people.
Legions also offer a wide range of engaging events that significantly enrich our communities’ cultural offerings. For instance, the Manotick Legion is hosting a Christmas Bazaar on Saturday, December 2nd. Throughout the year, BBQ events, dinners, charity activities, and much more are offered for the community/ his The Legion also offers community space for other meetings and events, providing opportunities to make use of their facilities for all manner of functions outside the regular activities conducted by the Legion.
Taken together, it is clear that Legions branches are providing valuable programs and services that make our communities and country better. And by continuing to engage with the Legion by attending and participating in these kinds of events throughout the year, we can support an organization that supports our veterans – a win-win all around.
I would encourage everyone in Ward 21 to take a moment to consider how throughout the coming year, they can engage with veterans and carry on the legacy of remembrance throughout the year ahead. A great way to do this is by engaging with your local Legion branch, volunteering, and simply participating in the many enriching events and activities that your Legion hosts.
For more information, please consider visiting manoticklegion.ca and richmondlegion.ca.
Featured Image – Rideau-Jock Councillor David Brown lays a wreath at the North Gower Remembrance Day ceremony Nov. 6.