West Smoky Legion #244 News

History of the Poppy

Each November, Poppies bloom on the lapels and collars of millions of Canadians. The significance of the Poppy can be traced back to the Napoleonic Wars in the 19th century, over 110 years before being adopted in Canada. Records from that time indicate how thick Poppies grew over the graves of soldiers in the area of Flanders, France. Fields that had been barren before battle exploded with the blood-red flowers after the fighting ended. During the tremendous bombardments of the war, the chalk soils became rich in lime from rubble, allowing the “popaver rhoeas” to thrive. When the war ended, the lime was quickly absorbed and the Poppy began to disappear again.

The person who first introduced the Poppy to Canada and the Commonwealth was Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae of Guelph, Ontario, a Canadian Medical Officer during the First World War. John McCrae penned the Poem “In Flanders Fields” on a scrap of paper in May, 1915 on the day following the death of a fellow soldier. Little did he know then that those 13 lines would become enshrined in the hearts and minds of all who would wear them. McCrae’s poem was published in Punch Magazine in December of that same year, and the poem later served as inspiration three years later for Moina Michael, an American teacher. Moina Michael made a pledge to always wear a Poppy as a sign of Remembrance.

During a visit to the United States in 1920, a French woman named Madame Guerin learned of the custom. Madame Guerin decided to make and sell poppies to raise money for children in war-torn areas of France. The Great War Veteran’s Association in Canada (our predecessor) officially adopted the poppy as its Flower of Remembrance on July 5, 1921.

Today, the Poppy is worn each year during the Remembrance period to honour Canada’s Fallen. The Legion also encourages the wearing of a Poppy for the funeral of a Veteran and for any commemorative event honouring Fallen Veterans. It is not inappropriate to wear a Poppy during other times to commemorate Fallen Veterans and it is an individual choice to do so, as long as it’s worn appropriately.

Thanks to the millions of Canadians who wear the Legion’s lapel Poppy each November, the little red flower has never died, and the memories of those who fell in battle remain strong.

In Flanders Fields


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae
~ May 3, 1915

(As published in Punch Magazine, December 8, 1915)


Article from The Royal Canadian Legion

Robert & Mary Burrows had Seven Sons Serving in WWII

On a crisp winter day in January, I spent a very enjoyable afternoon with Helen (Burrows) Horrigan. I had just read an archived article in the December 2, 1943 issue of the Herald Tribune where Robert Burrows (Helen’s father) stated he had six sons and one step-son in the military. Not only was it very interesting to hear about the military tradition of this family, but the entire “family story” in itself was a fascinating one.

Read More

2019 West Smoky Legion Ski Bus

It’s ski season again! The West Smoky Legion #244 is taking registrations for the 2019 season for Bezanson children and their parents.

The Legion will be subsidizing 3 outings; January 18th, February 1st and February 15th, 2019. Please download the information and signup packages here and submit to the school with payment by December 13th. Packages will also be distributed at the school. It is important to note that all children grades 3 and under require a parent to attend as well. The program requires at least 5 additional parents to supervise, and yes all students are required to take a lesson. Join our facebook group for up to date information.

The Legion is also recruiting new members. We are looking for members that are interested in board positions including the memberships chairperson, as well as event and youth programming. The ski bus in particular requires a new volunteer co-ordinator for 2020. Membership is $30 annually and we meet monthly September until May.

To submit your forms or enquire about membership or the volunteer coordinator position, please contact Katherine Cissell, kat@wildwestventures.ca

Ski Form 2019

SkiBus Info 2019

No Stone Left Alone

By: Mia and Chloe

On November 6 the Junior Highs went to the Glen Leslie Cemetery and laid poppies on all the veterans graves. Wanda Zenner gave us a brief description on all the different veterans who lay in Glen Leslie Cemetery. Everyone was given the name of a soldier. The Junior High students would search for their soldier, once they found their veteran they would lay a poppy on their grave, then respect them with a minute of silence. Chloe and I felt that this expanded our understanding of the effect the war had on our little community. We all enjoyed No Stone Left Alone because it felt as if we were honoring their legacy and remembering the soldiers’ sacrifice. The contrast of red poppy on the white snow will probably draw people to the cemetery to the veterans’ graves. Thus allowing the soldiers to not be forgotten. Overall this was a very heartwarming and a great experience. Chloe and I feel that this should become a Bezanson School Remembrance Day tradition for the many years to come.

Come support the community at the Golden Leaf this Saturday

Get your flapper dresses ready gals and mark your calendars for November 24th. Join us next Saturday at the 8th annual Golden Leaf Dine and Dance, the Roaring 20’s Golden Leaf Dine & Dance with Corinne’s Catering!

Tickets are being sold at  Bezanson General Store, $60 each. Over $3500 in cash prizes!

The 2018 Golden Leaf Dine & Dance is a themed 1920’s event scheduled November 24, 2018 in the newly completed Knelsen Centre. If you have ever attended our Golden Leaf Events you know that they are fun filled nights with lots of opportunities to win cash and dance the night away while supporting the efforts of two community organizations; the Bezanson Agricultural Society and the West Smoky Legion #244.

Come join the community to have a fun filled eventful evening! There will be silent & live auctions with many great items, games, fun food with Corinne’s Catering and dancing with Night Ryders. Thank you to all the sponsors who have already sponsored this event, there are still more sponsorship opportunities available, contact Katherine Cissell for more details. 780-832-8033.

Local Couple Honour Veterans

Remembrance Day
Newsworthy Event From 1992
“Local Couple Honour Veterans”

With Remembrance Day fast approaching, it is certainly time to reflect on all the veterans who served our Country and more specifically, those who had served locally.

In 1992, a local couple, Allie and Earl Weegar along with Allie’s son Keith Patterson, decided to honour the local veterans by constructing an array of framed pictures complete with name plaques. The frames were then presented to the West Smoky Legion #244 to be displayed in the Bezanson Legion Hut. The couple had thought about and discussed the project for seven years before they actually seriously delved into it. The Daily Herald Tribune interviewed the threesome and published the heartwarming story on February 14, 1992.

Keith Patterson, Earl & Allie Weegar photo in Daily Herald Tribune’s article entitled: “Photo History of War Vets”

Allie and Earl took it upon themselves to locate as many pictures of the local veterans as they could. There was a slow start to the project to begin with until the Community realized the importance of such a unique way of honouring the veterans. Leads were provided by family members or local old-timers who knew the whereabouts of several of the veterans who had moved away. The cost of the wood for the frames, glass, matting and backing material was borne by the Weegar’s. Ralph Selke constructed the five frames following which they were stained by Allie and the end product was nothing short of being a work of art. Each frame would hold 20 pictures along with gold identifying plaques. Plaques were still provided for veterans when a picture was not available. What an endeavor that would have been to collect over 100 photographs in the early 1990’s.

The Community thanks the family of Earl, Allie and Keith for the unique and remarkable way in which they honoured the local veterans. Keith Patterson passed away in 2015, Earl Weegar in 2001 and Allie Weegar in 2016. They are buried in the Glen Leslie Cemetery.

By Wanda Zenner – written October 30, 2018
Reference Val (Patterson) Williamson