by Lucie Roy
On Saturday morning, 1 Service Battalion exercised its “Freedom of the City” in Morinville by marching a large contingent of its personnel through the streets of Morinville.
The unit halted in front of Town Hall to receive permission from Mayor Barry Turner as 1 Service Battalion Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel Heather Morrison knocked on the doors of Town Hall.
The honour was bestowed on the unit and the soldiers had to be inspected by the Mayor and granted the freedom to march through the town.
The granting of the Freedom of the City is a traditional means for a municipality to honour a unit of the Canadian Forces.
Captain Dawes, adjutant of 1 Service Battalion said, “Today the marshall agreement of Freedom of the City is purely tradition. It is entirely a ceremonial honour usually bestowed upon a unit with resort ties to the area as a token of appreciation for the long and dedicated service”.
1 Service Battalion received Freedom of the City in Morinville in September of 2011.
The Freedom of the City today is particularly significant because 1 Service Battalion, which officially stood up Sept 1968, is celebrating 50 years in August.
A local artist is creating a mural for the Battalion for the anniversary celebrations.
Morinville has numerous ties to the Garrison and many 1 Service Battalion families are Morinville families.
One family is Orest and Marilynne Kuchta of Cardiff. Their son Justin went through the ranks of the 3061 (1CER) Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps in Morinville.
Upon completion, he joined the Canadian Armed Forces and was on parade with his unit with proud parents watching from the sidelines.
Mayor Barry Turner read a Proclamation which read: “In recognition of your loyal and steadfast service to the people of Canada, your commitment to the cause of world peace and your valued association with the Town of Morinville and whereas The Freedom of the City carried with it the gratitude of the citizens of Morinville and whereas your special privilege to honoured members to parade through the streets of Morinville with drums beating, bayonets fixed and flags flying the Council declares Freedom of the City to 1 Service Battalion.”
Lieutenant-Colonel Morrison presented a Battalion flag to Mayor Barry Turner and thanked him for once again being granted the privilege to march through the town.