Tuesday July 22, 2014


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How Fort St. John Remembers

Aleisha Hendry Photo

On Nov. 11, at 11 o’clock, the citizens for Fort St. John will take a moment to remember the sacrifices of those who went to battle in the name of Canada.

“We have men and women who fought for us to be able to have the democracy that others in the world are fighting for today,” said Mayor Lori Ackerman.

However, it is easy for people to overlook that sacrifice, she noted.

“I don’t think that’s often recognized in some of our residents and citizens in Canada, a lot of it is taken for granted because it was a couple of generations ago and I think it’s just important we know what they went through.” Ackerman said.

One of the ways that the city of Fort St. John chooses to honor and remember their veterans is by offering free transit service on Remembrance Day.

B.C. transit will be offering free bus on routes #1 and #2 from 8:15 a.m. to 12:35 p.m. and from 2:45 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.  In addition, free HandyDart services will be available from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m and then again from 3:30 to 7 p.m.

Meredith Burton, BC Transit corporate spokesperson, explained that she feels free transit a positive way to pay tribute to the veterans.

“It’s a nice tribute and just an extra incentive for people to get down to that parade in Fort St. John and be part of that Remembrance Day service,” said Burton.

Offering free transit is something that is fairly new to the city of Fort St. John.

“Last year was the first year that we’d ever offered it,” noted Burton.

Burton says that BC Transit really feels is important ensure that everyone who wants to take part in the Remembrance Day services is able to.

“We obviously see the great value in ensuring that HandyDart services are provided especially around the parade and the remembrance services downtown so both the north side and the south side are going to serve that particular area around 11 o’clock,” Burton said.

Mayor Lori Ackerman agrees and explained the City, in partnership with BC Transit, provides the free service because they believe it’s necessary.

“It’s part our budget,” she said.

“It’s important for people to be able to access the Legion that day and we do understand that not everyone has a vehicle so we do offer that for those that needs to get around, the handyDart as well is included in that.”

For Ackerman, Remembrance Day is about reflecting on what men and women gave up so that we could live in a free country.

Sunday’s Remembrance Ceremony is chance for everyone in Fort St. John to come together and Ackerman believes it’s something that everyone will experience and participate in differently.

“It’s certainly a way to get together as a community and to reflect on the sacrifices that were made. I think that people will have their own life experiences that (will be a) part of how they reflect on Remembrance Day.”

Ackerman explained that for her Remembrance Day is a chance for her to reflect on the sacrifices that were made, why they were made and the result that those sacrifices have had on the families and people who were waiting for their loved ones to come home.

“For me personally, I have my grandfather who was in WWI and his brother lost his life in WWI,” said Ackerman.

Dan Davies, City Councillor and Major in the Canadian Forces Reserve, has been a part of Remembrance Day for as long as he can remember, and he also feels a personal connection because his grandfather served in WWII.

He said that it’s vital that the citizens of Fort St. John as least take some time at 11 a.m. to remember those who have sacrificed so much.

“I think everybody should take part in Remembrance Day in some way,” explained Davies.

While he understands that for some people making it down to the parade and service at the Legion isn’t possible, he firmly believes that everyone should take the time at 11 A.M. to remember and reflect on what others and sacrificed and what we have as a result.

“In regards to some of the sacrifices that so many men and women have made and to stop for two minutes and reflect upon what these people have and are doing, I think that’s nothing to ask and I think it’s something that is extremely important for everyone to do,” explained Davies.

Davies noted that many of those people who have fought for our freedom have made the ultimate sacrifice of their lives and that’s why we need to remember them.

Mike King, a Long Member of the Royal Canadian Legion and a serving member of the Canadian Rangers, also feels that Remembrance Day is important to remember those who have sacrificed so much.

“All of us have had relatives, friends that have served and we feel an obligation, particularly after they’ve passed on, to honor and remember them.”

King also feels that it’s important to consider the imperative role that Royal Canadian Legion has played in Remembrance Day.

“The role of the Royal Canadian Legion is remembrance and remembering our veterans so they are part of the warp and weave of Remembrance Day,” he said.

“The most integral part of it is the Royal Canadian Legion because it was formed to remember what the people that served and particularly the ones that gave their lives the supreme sacrifice did for us and to never be forgotten.”

King explained that as a member of the Canadian Rangers he will be participating in the parade and service that will take place this Sunday. He will be driving veterans who are unable to walk in the parade in his Canadian Army Keep.

Remembrance Day is not just about honouring our past, for King, it is also about protecting our future.

“It’s part of our heritage, and a country that doesn’t remember its heritage won’t survive for very long.”



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