Drayton Valley Legion WWII veteran members continue to dwindle

By Laine Mitchell (Twitter: @Laine_Mitchell)
November 11, 2017 - 8:05am Updated: November 12, 2017 - 12:26pm

Canadians will pause across the country today to reflect on the sacrifices made in past and present conflicts.

With each passing year the number of living Drayton Valley residents who fought in World War II start to dwindle, as only a handful of veterans remain. 

Bill Cavangh, President of the Royal Canadian Legion #269 Drayton Valley, says only four WWII veterans remain that lived in the area. Three have since had to move away to Edmonton for advanced living needs, but still have roots in the community. Only one female WWII veteran remains as well.

The area has lost multiple veterans this year, and with their passings the link to the memory of the wars goes with them as well. That's something Cavangh says is a huge loss and their sacrifices need to be remembered.

"The history is lost with their passing. It is critical for the younger generation to understand that the ability to speak your mind freely is something our forces fought to protect among many other things."

Cavanagh says it's extremely difficult to track the actual number of veterans in the area, due to many not wanting to take claim for greater sacrifices others made. 

"Many veterans don't talk about their involvement. Many see it as a we did it, we're home, we're done, let's get back to planting crops or working in the oilfield," said Cavanagh.

The community still holds around 300 veterans from wars fought across the globe, like the Korean and Cold War. However, Cavanagh says only 60 are registered at the Legion due to wanting to be kept under the radar regarding their involvement in the wars.

The Legion does have a list of surviving veterans in the area, but he says it is woefully inadequate, and asks that any vet to contact the branch becuase they can offer assistance in a wide range of issues.

The Remembrance Day Ceremonies will be held today at the Drayton Valley Royal Canadian Legion beginning at 10:45 a.m.

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