Remembrance Day services brought to Red Deer seniors

Many veterans and veteran widows can’t make it to Remembrance Day ceremonies due to old age

It’s no secret veterans and their widows are getting old.

That’s why some of them can’t attend Remembrance Day ceremonies. So instead, Red Deer Legion members bring the service to them.

Red Deer Legion first vice-president Dennis Morgan was at one of the ceremonies earlier this week at Villa Marie in the city.

He was one of the 20 Legion members who put on the service, which consisted of a prayer and war songs.

“The war was how many years ago, and a lot of them are 80 to 90 years old. So they don’t leave the lodge so much, and most of them are in wheelchairs,” said Morgan.

“We do In Flanders Fields, we salute at the Last Post on a tape player and we do the Act of Remembrance (poem).”

Thanks to the initiative, seniors who can’t make it to Remembrance Day ceremonies still get to take part and observe the occasion.

The service brings back both joy and painful memories for many in attendance. On Wednesday, sniffles took over silence at the Villa Marie lobby where residents had gathered.

“They love it. You will see a lot of tears, a lot of memories. Some are good, some are bad, but they really enjoy it; they look forward to this every year,” said Morgan.

Each service lasted about an hour, with 30 to 80 seniors taking part.

Morgan said there were four people who put on the service years ago, when it initially started. But slowly, the numbers grew.

The number of venues also grew.

This week, about 14 services were hosted at Red Deer Hospice Society, Victoria Park, Points West Living Red Deer, West Park Lodge, Pines Lodge and other facilities.

The issue now is to manage the demand.

“We’re worried if we get more next year, I don’t know how we’re going to do it – we might change our format, we may have to,” Morgan said.

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