HP gathers to remember, reflect

Colours are marched in by members of the 539 Cadets High Prairie. Left-right, are Flight Sgt. Jerry Jerome, LAC Phoenix Cardinal, LAC Kali Chalifoux and AC Brooklyn Williams.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Citizens of the High Prairie region gathered for the first public Remembrance Day Service since 2019 after COVID-19 restrictions.
High Prairie Legion president Don Ebbett welcomed those who attended the service Nov. 11 at the Legion Hall.
“We’re glad that you’re here today,” Ebbett said.
Thanks and tributes were expressed for those who fought for the freedoms of Canadians. Messages from local and federal governments were presented.
Town of High Prairie Mayor Brian Panasiuk commended Canadians who fought for freedom.
“Today we remember the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve our country during times of war,” Panasiuk said.
“It is those people that have fought for the freedoms we enjoy today.”
He says he personally has not to sacrifice anything for his freedom.
“It was given to me by those men and women who sacrificed so much,” Panasiuk said.
“They died so I could live in peace, free to vote for the government of my choice, and free to voice my views with no fear of repercussion.
“These are freedoms that I have enjoyed all may life and at times have taken for granted.”
He urges Canadians to reflect on freedom more than just on Remembrance Day.
“Today, as we should everyday, we remember those who volunteered, sacrificed, served, fought and died for our freedom,” Panaiuk said.
“We thank you, we honour you and remember you.”
Big Lakes County Reeve Robert Nygaard further reflected and gave thanks.
“We honour the brave Canadians in uniform who have served and continue to serve our county in times of war, conflict and peace,” Nygaard said.
“Members of our armed forces – past and present – have routinely put their lives on the line for our country. They represent the very best of what is means to be Canadian.”
He also encourages people to think about freedoms all year.
“Today, as we should every day, we remember and honour the many Canadians who fought bravely to defend our country.
“It is because of them that we enjoy freedom, democracy and peace.
“We thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
“We will never forget.
“We will always remember you.”
A message from Peace River – Westlock MP Arnold Viersen was read by High Prairie RCMP Const. Alexander Isaac.
“This Remembrance Day, join me in extending a heartfelt thank you to Canada’s veterans and those serving today,” Viersen wrote in his message published in South Peace News Nov. 9.
“May we be eternally grateful for Canada’s veterans who, at great cost, defend our freedoms.”
Lesser Slave Lake MLA Pat Rehn was not present and did not send a message.
Father Rev. Lawrence Odoemena of St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church gave the message at the service based on Scripture found in John 15:13.
“Our veterans – both those who died in the war front and those who survived – can also be said to have truly imitated Christ’s sacrificial love because they, too, sacrificed so much for us to enjoy the freedom and the peace that we enjoy today in the country,” Odoemena said.
“We need to remember the courage and commitment of all our veterans and their families.”
He added people need to remember the financial and human costs of war.
“We must remind ourselves of the horror of war and commit ourselves to breaking the cycle of violence our world continues to be caught up in,” Odoemena said.
“It is hoped that remembering those show sacrificed so much for us to enjoy today will lead us to seek for peace an avoid whatever leads to conflict.”
High Prairie Victory Life Church Pastor Phil Lutton prayed for those who lost a loved one in war, strength for those left behind, veterans in pain, good government and community leadership and desire and commitment to live in reconciliation, unity and peace in the world.

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