Members of the Royal Canadian Legion in Hope pose for a photo on Remembrance Day. (Dave White photo)

75 years after D-Day, Legion members say organization more important than ever

The Royal Canadian Legion isn’t just about veterans anymore, but rather entire communities

It’s been 75 years since Allied troops pulled off the largest seaborne invasion in history and invaded the beaches of Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944.

And as Canadians look back and honour the immense sacrifices made that day, members of the Royal Canadian Legion say their organization is more important now than ever.

READ MORE: 75 years later, legacy of Canada’s role in D-Day landing still lingers

Created by veterans for veterans, Heather Bergstrom, treasurer for the local branch, says the Legion is a nation-wide non-profit organization dedicated to providing services to our vets and the community while continuing to not only act in Remembrance of the Canadian Services, but to also act in service to the country and local communities.

“Our members now include police, firefighters, and first responders,” Bergstrom said. Of Hope’s 250 members, there are probably only about 18 or 20 military veterans, as a majority of First and Second World War vets have passed away due to age.

“All Legions have a general concern for the future (because so many) think the Legion is only for old people and that it’s run by civilians,” Bergstrom continued. “But without the civilians, there’d be no Legion as there aren’t many vets left.”

Which leaves the Royal Canadian Legion as the nation’s history holder. “The Legion understands the importance of honouring past sacrifices and acknowledging the courage of those who served and still serve today,” states the organization on its website. “Through Remembrance Day ceremonies, the Poppy campaign, commemorative activities, youth education programs, and more, the Legion helps Canadians to honour and remember.”

READ MORE: D-Day Normandy sites today captured by drone

However, Bergstrom says that can only continue if membership at local Legions also continues.

“We were created to assist returning vets and their families,” Bergstrom explained, “but you don’t have to be a vet to join.”

It used to be that you had to be a child or grandchild of military personnel, however, that rule was changed within the last 20 years, and now anyone who can follow the code of conduct can join.

“There are advantages to being a member,” added Ian Williams, who’s been with the Legion for 54 years, and is the current president of the Hope branch.

For $50 per year, members can partake in medical and insurance benefit options, as well as participate in monthly dinners, dance parties, poker games, and more.

“It costs less than a Costco membership and has better benefits,” joked Bergstrom, who’s been a member of the Legion since she was 17. “I joined before I could even get in!” said the 65-year-old.

And through the Legion’s generosity, more than $14,000 was donated to local Hope charities last year alone. But to keep doing that work, Bergstrom and Williams say more members are needed.

READ MORE: D-Day veterans revisit Normandy, recall horror and triumph

“We’re really are all about being here for the community as a whole,” Williams said. “It’s about volunteerism and giving back. We have something going on all the time for everyone.”

“Come out and play with us!” exclaimed Bergstrom joyfully, adding that they’ll be celebrating Legion Week from June 24 -30.

“We’re going to have a free barbecue to raise awareness and membership. It’s not just an old-timer civilians’ club, it can be their club, too,” Bergstrom said. “Come down and join in our fun.”

For anyone who would like to honour D-Day, Williams says members of the Hope Legion will be laying a wreath at the cenotaph at noon on June 6.

For more information about the B.C./Yukon Legion, please visit LegionBCYukon.ca. For more information about Hope Legion Branch #228, please visit their website at HopeLegion228.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Search continues for person seen floating in Coquihalla River in Hope

Rescuers halted the search Thursday night as darkness fell

Missing Chilliwack woman has not been in contact with family for several months

The RCMP are asking for the public’s help in locating 35-year-old Chantelle Chenier of Chilliwack

Rescuers halt Coquihalla River search due to darkness, after reports of person in river

No information to indicate a child is involved, RCMP state, after this information surfaced on social media

Two Chilliwack women make weekly Crime Stoppers most wanted list

Ashley Felix and Raina McDonald wanted on unrelated issues

Kilby Park in Harrison Mills under water

Area is often subject to flooding, Historic Site will remain open through the summer

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

Greater Vancouver home sales start to tick up, with prices holding steady

Residential sales last month reached 2,443, a 64.5 per cent jump from May

Langley Lodge’s deadly outbreak declared over

Fraser Health and long-term care home administrator confirm Friday declaration

PHOTOS: South Surrey tractor project evokes ‘$1-million smile,’ helps connect neighbours

Retired Surrey firefighter Ron Henze began project for friend’s dad to fill time during pandemic

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

B.C.’s major rivers surge, sparking flood warnings

A persistent low pressure system over Alberta has led to several days of heavy rain

B.C.’s Indigenous rights law faces 2020 implementation deadline

Pipeline projects carry on as B.C. works on UN goals

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

Most Read