Veterans honoured at annual dinner

Fernie Legion Branch 36 has hosted its annual veterans dinner.

The annual Veterans Dinner, hosted by the Fernie Legion Branch 36 on Monday, June 4, was very well attended.

Approximately 70 veterans, first responders, their families, as well as local government officials attended the evening, which was dedicated to honouring the sacrifices of those who put their country, and community, first.

Legion Branch 36 president Jeannie Watson spoke just before a toast to the veterans and their widows was made. She thanked everyone for attending.

“It is extremely important that we keep up the tradition of showing respect to all of our veterans, their families and to the first responders and their families,” she said.

“It’s such a tough job. Each year we are a couple of people less than last year. We need to honour and show respect to them as well. If it weren’t for their sacrifices, maybe none of us would be here today.”

For a long time, Legion Branch 36 has been trying to get a certain local to join their branch. But before he did, he had to complete a mission. This year, he completed that mission.

Watson presented Bob Cronin with his 50-year award medal, honouring his time spent with Legion Branch 44 in Vancouver.

Legion Branch 36 past president Jennifer Cronin then recited a poem written by her 96-year-old father, Captain Retired Ken Carlson. He is a veteran of World War II.

The title of the poem was June.

The Weather Forecast and phase of the moon

Suggested that the fifth day in June

Would be the time to invade the shore

Before the enemy armed it more.

The German Army was well protected

In concrete bunkers they had erected

And they lined the cliff beyond the beach

To make it harder for invaders to reach.

The Allies had to yield to fate

And at the last minute change the date

Due to a sudden summer storm

And weather that was not the norm.

The weather cleared enough that night

For Allied bombers to make the flight

Over the enemy gun emplacements

And their barracks and other arrangements.

So the sixth day of June in nineteen forty four

Became known as D-day forevermore

Many Allied bombs were dropped

And much enemy reinforcement was stopped.

In addition to bombs, paratroopers were there

And gliders full of Allies filled the air

While this was happening, if you looked to the sea

You would see the largest armada in history.

They were all heading for the beaches of Normandy

An invasion force set to make Europe free

The American, British and Canadian armies too

Were combining in strength as the armada grew.

After the bombers the beach assaults began

And often ended in fighting man to man

Shells from the ships tore at the defensive shore

While commandos hit land and took casualties galore.

The Allies prevailed and rushed inland

To join the paratroops and make a stand.

They advanced and more allied troops as well

And the skirmishes turned into a living hell.

All through June, the war was waged

Many armies were fully engaged

But June was not to see the wars end

More troops were there to defend.

But this rhyme is about the month of June

When spring turns to summer and birds sing in tune

When leaves appear on the trees everywhere

And gardens all bloom with flowers to share.

“Veterans and those that served in the armed forces are a huge source of pride for our country,” said Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano.

“It’s because of our veterans that we are fortunate to live in a free Canada. But freedom has never been free. It comes at a huge price. Canadians enjoy it because of the men and women that fought to protect our rights, and from those individuals who paid the ultimate price, those who have given their lives for our country,” she added.

Mayor Giuliano also thanked the first responders.

“We are very grateful that there are people like you to do this type of work,” she said.

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Bob Cronin receives his 50-year award medal, honouring his time spent with Legion Branch 44 in Vancouver. Phil McLachlan

Retired private Jock Anderson of the Black Watch was present at the Veterans Dinner. He explained that each member tattooed their Sgian-dubh on their leg, using the needle from their sewing kit. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

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