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Legion Week kicks off to engage the community

- Vigil planned for 100th anniversary of Armistice Day -



by Sylene Argent

“Remember, when you shake the hand of a veteran, you are shaking the hands of our history,” Dan Gray, President of the Essex Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 201), said on Sunday afternoon during the annual wreath-laying ceremony at the local cenotaph.

  The ceremony kicked off Legion Week, which is a multiple-day event that offers fun activities for community members, over the age of 19, to enjoy, while learning about the many services and programs the local Legion offers to assists veterans and provide support to youth activities.

  Legion Week continued with a cribbage tournament on Monday and a Euchre Tournament on Tuesday. A Darts Tournament is planned for Wednesday, starting at 7 p.m. A Trivia Night will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, and a perch dinner will take place on Friday evening, beginning at 5 p.m. Essex’s Legion Week celebrations will conclude on Saturday with the annual Kinger’s Krazy Golf tournament.

  It is hoped that everyone in the community will take the time to enjoy the events and may even consider becoming a member.

  “You do not have to be a member to come into one of our branches, but we sure wish you would consider joining and helping us to fulfill our objective of helping others,” he said.

  Gray explained, by the end of World War II, there were 15 veterans’ groups, along with a number of regimental associations, representing former Canadian service members. In 1925, an appeal for unity made way for the formation of the Dominion Veterans Alliance. In November of that year, the Canadian Legion of the British Empire Services League was formed in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Essex received its charter in 1931, he said.

  “All veterans need to know that the Legions are here to assist them however they can,” Gray said. “When veterans have a strong voice, such as the Legions working on their behalf, everyone wins.”

  Legion member Craig Chartier said, in recognition of the upcoming 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, the Essex Legion is planning a multiple-day vigil in front of the cenotaph, leading up to the November 11 ceremony.

  Chartier hopes the vigil will have a multiple volunteers standing in remembrance, each for a one-hour duration, hopefully around the clock. The length of the vigil will be determined by the amount of people who volunteer.

  To sign up to be a part of the vigil, call the Essex Legion at  (519) 776-8247.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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