It’s almost 50 years since the end of the Korean War and as time marches on, members of the Royal Canadian Legion Br. #29 Ladies Auxiliary here are worried those who marched, flew, and sailed in the major wars of the 20th century are fading from the minds of younger generations.
“It gets harder every year to get it across to people what Remembrance Day really means,” said auxiliary secretary Betty Newman, who gathered with other members at the Legion on Monday after the annual cenotaph service to honour those who fought and died for Canada in past battles.
“We hold an essay and poster contest every year at this time. Last year, we only received two entries from the high school,” she noted.
Newman, whose husband, Ken, served overseas for four-and-a-half years during the Second World War, believes the chilly winds of November are no reason for people to remain absent from Remembrance Day ceremonies.
“I think it’s good that at the services, we have to stand in the cold and suffer a little bit,” she said. “It’s nothing like what the soldiers had to go through back then.”
As the calendar turns and the number of veterans dwindles, the link to the past is weakened, said auxiliary treasurer Norma Perlett, whose husband, Clarence, served in the coastal command based in Sydney, N.S. during the Second World War.
“With more veterans passing away, younger people don’t have any connection to the past,” she remarked. “They need to be taught through the schools about the importance of what happened in years past.”
Sgt.-at-Arms Betty Sivonen said schools are failing in another way when it comes to appropriate recognition of wartime participants.
“The schools should be closed on Remembrance Day like they used to be and the stores definitely should be shut down, as well,” she stressed.
But auxiliary associate member Dorothy Caul was optimistic that all is not lost when it comes to ensuring Remembrance Day remains an important tradition.
“I think it’s starting to make a bit of a comeback, especially with what happened during Sept. 11 of last year,” said Caul, whose husband, Harry, was part of the military’s Forestry Corps stationed in Quebec during the Second World War.
“Through that incident, people understand more about what the war veterans are talking about,” she added.