Dressed impeccably in her Legion colors, 96-year-old Edna Pratt, walking slowly with an aid of a walker, laid a wreath at the foot of a makeshift cross covered with poppies during the Remembrance Day Service held at Rimbey Community Centre.
Pratt, laid a wreath on behalf of her husband, Bill, whom she met overseas while she served in the Royal Canadian Air Force. She also laid the wreath on behalf of her fiancé who died in the war before she met the man who later became her husband. Pratt’s uncle was also killed in action.
Pratt joined the RCAF in 1942 and in 1945 became a staff officer in the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration in the British Occupation Zone of northern Germany.
Pratt, whose maiden name was Bryanton, returned to Rimbey because her family was here. She is grateful she made it home, and stresses the men and women who gave their lives for their country must never be forgotten.
“It’s a disgrace if we do. Think of all the years that they lost because of what they gave. That’s why I’m here.”
Alexis Stewart, 18, from Rimbey participated in the Remembrance Day service as a member of Ponoka No. 65 Air Cadet Squadron.
Remembrance Day services are important to her because they help her understand the horrors of war. “It makes it seem more real.”
Attending the service is one way she feels she can honor those who gave their lives in the war. “I feel really good about it – showing that we care, honoring those who gave their lives for us.”
Darel Pallin, whose son, Shaun, laid a wreath on behalf of Ponoka Air Cadets, said pleased to be able to bring his son to the service.
He said his great-grandfather fought in the Second World War, returning home safely.
“I have attended the services for some time. I’m glad to be able to bring my son here.”
Of the more than 600,000 Canadian soldiers who enlisted during the First World War, some 60,000 lost their lives. In the Second World War, more than a million Canadians enlisted; another 45,000 didn’t return.