It’s no doubt a changing world.
Technology has advanced to the point where just about anything can be accomplished by the touch of a button; the federal government has acknowledged some of the past ordeals experienced by Canada’s First Nations people; while, south of the border, none other than controversial real estate mogul Donald Trump has been elected to serve as the next president of the United States.
Unfortunately, not all change is for the better. Take for example the Royal Canadian Legion where a once (and still) proud organization now finds itself in desperate need of new members. According to a report conducted last year by CTV News, the Legion as a whole saw its membership drop from about 400,000 members to 300,000 between 2004 and 2014, while 20 per cent of current members are more than 80 years old and naturally unable to keep up with the varied duties that go along with such an important responsibility.
The decline is also being felt at the local level. Terry Harris, president of Branch 76 in Meadow Lake, recently admitted numbers have been dwindling as long-time members grow older, while Chris Brownrigg – a local volunteer who has been a key contributor to everyday affairs at the Meadow Lake branch for about two years now – went as far as to write a poem about the Legion’s ongoing need for new blood.
It’s Brownrigg’s opinion the organization won’t benefit from a larger membership alone as much as it will from securing a handful of committed volunteers willing to take the reins long held by an executive in need of a well-deserved break. But, this isn’t as easy as it sounds.
There’s no doubt the people of Meadow Lake and area truly respect Canada’s war veterans and everything they have done for the freedom cherished in this country to this day. Simply attending one of several Remembrance Day services held at the local schools or by observing the community service held every Nov. 11 at the Meadow Lake Civic Centre confirms this. But, because today’s world and society in general have evolved so much, there are so many other worthy groups and causes to become involved in, the Legion is forced to suffer. One person can only do so much with his or her time and energy.
Hopefully this too, however, will be subject to change. For more than 90 years, the Royal Canadian Legion has been a tool to honour Canada’s war veterans and, to see it disappear because of a lack of volunteers would be tragic. Tomorrow is a day for remembrance for many, but supporting the Legion helps to support remembrance every day of the year. Lest we forget.