Every year with a two o’clock start time, members of the community’s two other legions, Branches No. 9 and No. 70, support the service of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 349 at the Saskatchewan Hospital. This year’s service was the first to be held in the new building.
Rev. Jan R. Cooke gave the message. He explained how many Canadians died in the First and Second World Wars: “6,400 Saskatchewan soldiers lost their lives in the First World War. Canadian soldiers took part in 83 major battles in the First World War. In the Second World War, 1.1 million Canadians served in the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force and in forces across the Commonwealth; 42,000 were killed and another 55,000 were wounded. These statistics don’t do justice to the individuals who served or their courage and acts of heroism and their sacrifice.”
Martin from SHNB read in Flanders Fields and Rev. Cooke read out the 19 names of those who served in the First and Second World Wars and who either worked or lived at Saskatchewan Hospital.
Theresa Joss-Bilous was there representing MP Rosemarie Falk. She talked about being thankful for all the sacrifices that were made.
MLA Herb Cox, representing the Government of Saskatchewan, commented that he is a son of a Second World War veteran: “It was always a very special day in their family. No matter what we were doing in the small farming community where I grew up, we didn’t always have a formal ceremony back then, we always, always stopped our task at 11 in the morning no matter what we were doing, we stopped to remember. To continue that tradition on with the young people today is going to be equally as important.”
Sam Maniyan, spiritual care co-ordinator at SHNB, thanked all who came out and dignitaries who attended.
Today’s Branch No. 349 is the melding of the Royal Canadian Legion branch, chartered in 1948, and the ladies’ auxiliary, formed in 1949 and closed in 2009 after 60 years in existence. The support services always provided by the auxiliary continue through the branch and the auxiliary members who are now members of the branch itself.