Dr. Wilton Littlechild spoke at the Ponoka Legion’s Veteran’s Appreciation Luncheon following their Decoration Day ceremony at the Ponoka cemetery Sept. 17.
A lawyer, former local MP, athlete, chief, and former Truth and Reconciliation commissioner, Littlechild is also a card-carrying member of Branch No. 66, having served as member of Ponoka’s medical core.
“Since leaving the medical core here in Ponoka, I’ve been very busy,” he said. “Thank you veterans, for your service.”
Every year, the members of the Royal Canadian Legion Ponoka Branch No. 66 pay their respects to the fallen soldiers who gave their lives in the service of their country by decorating their headstones.
Among the reverence for the services of its members past and present, the celebration this year was also coloured with reminiscing about, and tributes to, the late Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away on Sept. 8.
The master of ceremonies stated that the memory of Her Majesty would remain firmly entrenched in the hearts and minds of the Legion forever.
The Royal Canadian Legion has strong ties to the monarchy. Queen Elizabeth herself was a veteran, having served as a driver and mechanic in WWII.
It was noted that in 1961, by royal consent, the prefix “royal” was added before the name of the Canadian Legion.
Lacombe-Ponoka MLA and Minister of Culture Ron Orr thanked the Legion for placing a wreath for the queen and congratulated them on their efforts to follow proper protocol in transitioning to a new king.
Among his many accomplishments and storied history, Littlechild has the distinction of having been in Queen Elizabeth’s presence a total of six times over his lifetime as well.
The first time he met her, he was eight years old.
Then, when he was 18, as a cadet in the Alberta Dragoons, he was part of the honour guard when she visited B.C.
When she honoured the Canadian athletes that were invited to join her in Toronto, he was among them.
He was there when she honoured the members of Parliament in Calgary, and he met her when he became a trustee at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights and Her Majesty came to officially open the museum.
He wore a medal that was to commemorate the queen’s 70 years of service — of which he said he was one of the first 25 recipients of — for the occasional, as well as his headdress.
“Today being so special to honour veterans, I chose to wear both my headdress and the latest medal in honour of Queen Elizabeth, and now of course, we’ll make connections with the king,” said Littlechild.