A visit to RCMP graduation ceremonies

Guess who missed out on some new music at the Maymont seniors' potluck and jam session? Those who didn't come.

Joining us from Borden was Eileen Petrun, who sang a medley of songs by Loretta Lynn, and Rose Mandziak, who sang various songs. My favourite was one by Dean Martin. Thanks girls, you did a terrific job. And thanks to Tom Caldwell, Bert Carpentier and Mel Deagnon who also entertained.

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As always supper was superb. Thanks to all who donated to the supper and who joined us.

There will be a garage sale in Maymont June 21, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Anyone wishing to book a table, please call Carol or Mel at 306-389-2440. Tables are $15. If there's anyone wanting to donate an article, please let us know. All monies go to Maymont Hall. We will also have burgers, hot dogs and pop available for purchase. In the evening we will be having a potluck supper and jam session. Everyone welcome.

My husband Mel and I were honoured to attend a RCMP graduation ceremony in Regina June 2. Our goddaughter, Amanda Traill from Saskatoon, graduated with Troop 20. Amanda's grandparents, Walter and Bernice Scott, who live in North Battleford, also joined us with family and friends.

The day started out with the swearing-in ceremony when all cadets are officially sworn-in as regular members of the RCMP and sign their engagement documents. The troop wore their working uniforms with breeches and high brown boots. After the swearing-in ceremony was the sergeant major's parade. The graduating troop wore full red serge uniform and were the first troop on parade. They did a drill display. The commanding officer of "Depot" Division inspected the troop. She was accompanied by Suzanne Anton, minister of Justice and Attorney General for British Columbia.

After the parade, we went to the drill hall for the badge presentation. The CO presented the badges to the newly engaged members. The event concluded with a valedictorian address and the troop's final commands were given by the CO.

A banquet was held later on in the evening for family and friends. This was truly an event we will never forget.

During the 26-week program at the RCMP Academy, these people have trained extremely hard to reach this point and the graduation ceremony is one to be proud of. As our goddaughter is a woman in the RCMP, I gathered this information about Women in Scarlet.

On Sept. 16, 1974, at exactly the same moment at RCMP Divisions across Canada, 32 women were all sworn into the Royal Canadian Mounted Police - the first women engaged by the force as regular members. It was history in the making.

"Women in Scarlet: 40 Years of Women in the RCMP" invites visitors to explore some moments in that history. To even walk, one might say, in the pumps and in the Strathcona boots of these history-making women. Break a new path with Troop 17, the first female troop at "Depot" Division, and understand some of the challenges they faced in 1974 and 1975 - everything from new, unique uniforms to learning to march without a "wiggle."

After graduation, the women of Troop 17 transferred to detachments across the country - 30 female members in a force of 15,724. Depot welcomed new female troops into the Force: Troop 36, Troop 21, Troop 9; more and more women engaging with the force, marching with their male troop mates.

Della Sonya Beyak was, sadly, the first woman to die in the line of duty. Debbie E. Reitenbach, the first female drill instructor, was the first woman appointed Sergeant Major. Beverly Ann Busson, who graduated with Troop 17, was appointed the first female Commissioner. "Women in Scarlet" introduces the visitor to a few of these "firsts" who stand for so many who serve every day.

Today women make up 21 per cent of the regular force. It has been a long and, sometimes, bumpy road. The RCMP historical collections unit and the RCMP Heritage Centre are proud to shine a light on the accomplishments of female members. Congratulations for 40 years of proud service!

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the three officers who were killed in Moncton, N.B. At the ceremony our goddaughter read the Police Officer's Prayer: "Lord, I ask for courage: Courage to face and conquer my own fearsCourage to take me where others will not go. I ask for strength: Strength of body to protect othersStrength of spirit to lead others. I ask dedication: Dedication to my job to do it well. Dedication to my community to keep it safe. Give me, Lord, concern: For all those who trust me. And compassion for those who need me, And, please, Lord, through it all, be at my side." May they rest in peace.

On her Facebook page she wrote," My heart goes out to the fallen brothers and sisters of the force yesterday and to their families. Everyday on the job may you watch over us being our silent partners from above.

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