By MorinvilleNews.com Staff
Morinville – Clear skies and perfect weather made for a good day to honour local Afghanistan veterans. Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 176 hosted an Afghanistan Veterans Appreciation Day Aug. 21, recognizing the sacrifices of all who have served with a particular focus on local veterans.
The largely outdoor ceremony was attended by six Afghanistan vets as well as a number of dignitaries. Wreaths were laid by Mayor Lloyd Bertschi, Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Ken Kowalski, Alexander Councillor Marcel Arcand, Sturgeon County Councillor Ken McGillis as well as several others.
Speaking on behalf of the province, Kowalski thanked the veterans for what they have done in Afghanistan. “Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban, was the toughest of all assignments,” the MLA said, adding there is no other profession that calls for a contract with such great personal liability as the armed forces. “For what they and their families have given, let us forever be grateful for their sacrifices.”
Morinville’s Mayor Lloyd Bertschi pointed out Morinville has approximately 400 soldiers living in the community with their families, something the town was proud of. “We appreciate the work that you do, not only in our town and community, but certainly in Afghanistan,” he said.
Bertschi made reference to the Peace Light that was erected during St. Jean Baptiste Festival 2010, a light that will continue to burn until Canadian troops are home safe from Afghanistan.
Sturgeon County Councillor Ken McGillis said it was appropriate to take time out to honour veterans and that he’d had opportunity to speak to many. “I have not found yet one who didn’t believe the made an impact over there,” he said.
Alexander First Nation Councillor Marcel Arcand has also had an opportunity to speak to members of the armed forces, including several from Alexander. As with the other municipal politicians, Arcand expressed his gratitude for Canada’s serving men and women. “The sacrifices laid down – we see it today with the young kids running around in a free country,” Arcand said, a reference to several toddlers playing in the grass as the ceremony took place.
Each of the Afghanistan veterans were given a special certificate from MLA Kowalski and received the personal thanks of each of the dignitaries before joining them for lunch.
Morinville will be hosting a Freedom of the City ceremony to further honour the troops. That ceremony will be held Sept. 11.
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