PENHOLD – Hundreds of Penhold and area residents came together Friday night to honour the sacrifice and service of local veterans past and present.
The town held its Remembrance Day Memorial Service at the Penhold Regional Multiplex on Nov 8.
“Until recently we’ve never had the opportunity to be able to do this right in Penhold with our own cenotaph. It’s become an important part for us every year,” said Penhold mayor Mike Yargeau.
The service also commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Penhold Memorial Hall.
“We’re going to be honouring those that have served from Penhold and the Central Alberta region and honouring those who are currently serving as well,” said Yargeau. “This year we’ve got a bit of a special touch on it because it’s also the 100th anniversary of our memorial hall, which was built to honour those that served in the First World War.”
The Central Alberta Chamber Players, a quintet from Red Deer, performed several wartime pieces and new compositions prior to and during the service.
Several area dignitaries and guests also took part in the service including Yargeau, local veterans, Red Deer County mayor Jim Wood, Red Deer-Mountain View MP Earl Dreeshen, members with the Innisfail RCMP detachment, Penhold peace officers, Penhold Fire Department, and the Innisfail Royal Canadian Legion Branch #104.
Twelve-year-old Bree Ruttam is a first year member of 7 Penhold Royal Canadian Air Cadets and recently joined the squadron.
She shared what Remembrance Day meant to her.
“It’s a very important part of history. It’s about respect and it’s about the people who have died for us and our freedom,” said Ruttam. “I am very thankful to live in Canada.”
Doug Parrish is a U.S. veteran who served with the U.S. Navy overseas in the Mediterranean and during the Vietnam War.
He was attending and participating in the Penhold Remembrance Day Memorial Service for the first time.
Parrish served with the Reconnaissance Attack (Heavy) Squadron Thirteen (RVAH-13) with the U.S. Navy for several years.
“It’s my first time attending this event,” said Parrish. “I think it’s wonderful. You can’t forget about these people. They did a lot.”
He shared a memory of his time overseas.
“We lost one air crew in Vietnam. They got shot down and I’ll never forget that,” he said, noting military service runs in the family.
Parrish’s father who passed away two years ago was a Second World War veteran and his uncle was in the Korean War.
“These people need to be lifted up and remembered,” said Parrish.