By MorinvilleNews.com Staff
Morinville – It’s not every day that a group of three year olds are allowed close access to a cougar, but students at Morinville Tiny Tots soon found out Tuesday afternoon that this cougar had no fur or whiskers. Rather, the cougar was a large military vehicle that once trained soldiers in the skills needed to operate tanks.
Representatives of the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (LDSH) Historical Vehicle Unit brought a decommissioned 1976 Cougar to the preschool Oct. 19 to give the students a hands-on lesson about Canada’s military.
“It’s more to do with Remembrance Day,” said Phyllis Duffy, the preschool’s early childhood educator. “What we do is we bring this in for Remembrance Day and say this is what happens. They go to war to make sure that we have our freedoms. It’s just to do with Remembrance Day so they understand it’s not given – it’s earned.”
Despite the fact that the students were between the ages of three and four, Duffy said she believed the children do grasp the concept on some level. “They understand quite easily,” she said. “We always give them a poppy and I do read a book on it. So the do know the country has fought for and kept that way for us. They do understand what we’re doing.”
Corporal Nathan Erickson was on hand Tuesday, dressed in full camouflage gear, to help guide students through the decommissioned tank trainer. A number of preschoolers were allowed to go inside the vehicle and on up through the top hatch.
“It’s always good to get out with the little ones and show them all of our vehicles,” Erickson said, noting that since he became involved with the Historical Vehicle Troops, he’s become more involved in school presentations. “It’s always an enjoyable time.”
Bruce Miedema, a mechanic with the Lord Strathcona’s Horse Historical Vehicle Troops Unit, said the Cougar was one of a number of vehicles preserved by the unit, which is somewhat of a mobile museum. Miedema said the unit has three Sherman tanks, a Centurian tank and a number of other restored military vehicles that span the history of the Lord Strathcona’s Horse.