Citizens encouraged to attend Remembrance Day services

Two Remembrance Day services will take place in the City this Friday and the public is welcome and encouraged to attend.

Services will occur at the Red Deer Arena and Veterans’ Park on Nov. 11 in the morning.

Grant MacKay, chairperson and master of ceremonies for the Remembrance Day celebrations at the Red Deer Arena, encourages those planning to attend the service at that the arena to come at about 10 a.m.

“It gets very crowded and fills up quickly, so we hope that people come early,” he said.

The Red Deer Royals will be on hand and will perform throughout the service.

A number of dignitaries including Red Deer South MLA Cal Dallas and Red Deer North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski and MP Earl Dreeshen will take part in the ceremony.

“We will have a parade of the RCMP and the firefighters. We’ll of course have members of the army. We’ll also have boy scouts, girl guides and brownies there as well. And our veterans will be attending as well,” said MacKay.

The children attending the services will also get Canadian flags to wave during the parade of the veterans.

At Veterans’ Park, a service will also take place. This will be the second Remembrance Day service held at the location which was officially opened earlier this year. About 50 people attended the ceremony at Veterans’ Park last November.

“I encourage citizens to attend the services because it’s important to be reminded what our troops have done especially since we just lost a soldier very close to us who was from Lacombe,” said MacKay. “It’s about keeping our nation free and having Canadian pride.”

After both services end, an open house will take place at the Red Deer Legion. There will be free sandwiches and beef on a bun will also be available to purchase for $3.

“It will be a full house, but everyone has a lot of fun. It goes quite late,” said MacKay.

There will also be musical entertainment and dancing in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 people gathered to honour the late Master Cpl. Byron Garth Greff at a service held Monday in Lacombe.

Greff was killed by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device while transiting through Kabul as a passenger on an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) vehicle at about 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 29.

His body arrived in Trenton last week where Governor General of Canada David Johnston, Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay and the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Walt Natynczyk and other dignitaries were there to pay their respects.

He was the first Canadian solider to be killed in Afghanistan since Canada ended its mission in July. He was the 158th solider killed in that country. On his second deployment to the war-torn country, Greff’s role was to advise Afghan National Army trainers who provide recruit training to Afghan soldiers.

Greff joined the Canadian Forces in 2001 and had been serving with the Third Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry since 2002. In his spare time, Greff enjoyed hunting and hockey.

He graduated from Lacombe Composite High School in 2001. He leaves behind a wife, son and daughter who live in Morinville.