On November 11, 1996, Don Leier – a veteran of the Korean War – walked from Trinity Church to the monument in nearby Montgomery Park to pay his respects that day. He encouraged a few friends from church to join him. From that first modest act has grown the service that we hold today. In 2009, Jim Earle and Leslee Newman took over organizing the service when Don wanted to retire.
The service is a genuine community accomplishment with thanks owing to many. This year, Don Leier and members of his family will lay a wreath on behalf of Korean vets. Member of Parliament Sheri Benson and MLA Danielle Chartier will lay wreaths on behalf of Canadian and Saskatchewan vets. Laying the wreath this year in memory of veterans of Montgomery Place will be Allisha (Stewart) Bear and her daughters Harper and Lenix, granddaughter and great-granddaughters of original residents John and Verna Davie. Allisha and her family live in the home built by her grandparents. Other wreath-layers have come faithfully each year including Lee Jones for Protective Services, John Crawford for Project Ploughshares and members of the Scouts who lay a wreath on behalf of children affected by war. We’re missing John Bradley this year, who has laid a wreath for Peacekeepers for the past several years. Since she was a high school student, Lesley Tyler has almost always provided the poignant trumpet music that accompanies each service. Daughter of veteran Bob Buckle, Sherri Buckle has led the singing which opens and closes the service. For the past three years, members of 38 Signal Regiment 4 Squadron have participated with an Honour Guard.
The generous United Church folks open their doors for the gathering annually, with minister Rev. Bill Unger participating each year. This year the congregation cancelled its own church service so that the community gathering could be held. Coffee-makers and cookie-bakers are a neighbourhood crew rallied by Barb McAllister. Montgomery School students have made decorations that adorn the church hall. Upstairs in the sanctuary a PowerPoint of veterans’ photos shows continuously throughout the morning. Gwen Will, daughter of veterans Chuck and Mary Will, has led the search for pictures, contacting second and third generation family, friends and neighbours for photos. Thank you to everyone who shared photos.
Honour our community roots. Join your friends and neighbours at 10:50 am on Sunday, November 11, to remember and respect lives lived and lost during world conflicts. Assemble at the veterans’ monument in Montgomery Park at the corner of Caen Street and Rockingham Avenue. Truly a community affair, dress warmly and let the cold, crisp air add poignancy to the heartfelt words of remembrance and respect.