Remembrance Day in Swift Current has once again brought together the town to honour those who gave their lives in armed conflict across the world to keep us safe and free.
The Swift Current Legion puts on two services every year, the first at the cenotaph in Memorial Park, and the second at Swift Current Comprehensive High School (SCCHS). By having the ceremony outdoors and downtown, not everyone can easily attend. SCCHS hosting the event allows more inclusion for those who may not be able to physically attend an outside service.
John Griffin, the public relations officer for the Royal Canadian Legion in Swift Current, has organized these events for many years.
“It's our busiest day of the year and it went awesome today,” stated Griffin. “The last few years we've had really good attendance to our Remembrance Day services and we're very thankful for that. It's just great to see everybody come out and remember our veterans and fallen Canadians. I believe it is one of Canada's most important traditions to remember and honour those who have served and sacrificed so much for our country and for us.”
Traditional music was played by the Legion’s Green Braes Pipes and Drums. The later ceremony featured multiple speeches, as well as hymns sang by the Swift Current Oratorio Choir. The ceremony is very similar every year, as consistency is what has kept the tradition alive for so many years. The intention is to remind people of why the nation has been able to develop to where it is today.
“Cenotaph is derived from a pair of Greek words, kenos and taphos, which means empty tomb,” explained Griffin. “That's what they really are. It's symbolic tomb to those who are buried overseas, who have given their lives for our country. It's a place where not just on Remembrance Day, but every day of the year, people can come and remember those who have given their lives.”
Griffin is also a genealogist and has spent about 18 months researching the area’s soldiers who lost their lives in World War I and World War II. He has come up with definitive numbers, showing 113 people from the Swift Current area died in these conflicts.