Calvin Lutz, president of the Clearwater-Vavenby Legion, reads a tribute to the veterans during Clearwater’s Remembrance Day ceremony. Photo by Keith McNeill

Legion president pays tribute to our veterans

A serene silence falls over our communities as we pause with thanks

Editor’s Note: The following tribute to our veterans was read by Clearwater-Vavenby Legion president Calvin Lutz during the Remembrance Day ceremony on Nov. 11.

Good morning. At this time of year millions of people pay their deep respects to Canadian veterans who have fallen in the service of our nation.

READ MORE: Clearwater honours veterans on Remembrance Day

It’s also a time to honor those still serving in the Canadian forces and RCMP, whether in areas of conflict or in peacekeeping operations.

We remember individually – by wearing a poppy close to our heart.

We remember in communities like ours. Wherever we are we think about the incredible sacrifices that ensured the freedoms we enjoy today.

On the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month … we stand in silence for two minutes, a serene silence falls over our communities as we pause with thanks.

The bright red poppy is our visual pledge to never forget … it is steeped in symbolism.

At this time of the year, the Legion and its volunteers accept your generous donations and we thank you.

These donations are used to provide support for veterans and their families, veterans transition programs, PTSD support, veterans care centers like Broadmead, Cockrell House and George Derby Centre.

In addition, the service dog program, medical equipment for veterans, educational bursaries for children, the poster and literary contest for school children and the list goes on.

Just to give you an idea as to how generous Canadians are, in 2015 alone, across this country $19 million went back into communities for programs and services to help our veterans.

As you may know, our 1,400 legion branches across Canada often collaborate with community members and partners to build and maintain local cenotaphs and memorials to honor the fallen during the remembrance period and throughout the year.

Here in Clearwater the Legion and the District of Clearwater have partnered together and are working towards our goal of a new cenotaph in place for the 2018 Remembrance Day ceremony.

The Legion and its branches will always remain places of support and friendship for veterans, families and others. We want you to know that the Legion is a place where veterans can go to help deal with mental and physical hardships … to help navigate a sometimes complex system to receive their benefits … to learn about other initiatives that can bring them a different kind of healing.

Many of our soldiers have endured unspeakable hardship and terror, some have lived to tell their harrowing stories, others have not. It is our duty to remember them.

I’d like to share some final thoughts. Honoring veterans is our duty. Helping veterans is our mission.

At the Legion, we will always be committed to making a difference in the lives of veterans and their families and remembering the men and women who sacrificed for our country.

It’s easy to take our freedoms for granted. During this special period, we must all join in saluting the men and women who served and sacrificed for our country … we must pause, give thanks and think about the brave actions that helped create our world of freedom today.

And we must remember Canada’s fallen from all conflicts, all peace support operations and from training exercises … from the First World War, the Second World War, Korea and Afghanistan.

We will remember them all. Thank you for being here.

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