The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 124 in Niagara-on-the-Lake is celebrating its 90th anniversary on Saturday.
It was in 1918, after the November 11 armistice of World War One, when 600,000 Canadians returned home to their communities and civilian lives, scars and all.
Not long after that, veterans in the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake formed the Niagara Veterans Association, and along with other groups like the Independent Order of Daughters of the Empire, began the work of veteran support. A decade later, the NVA applied for a charter to the Canadian Legion of the British Service League and on May 18, 1928, the NOTL Legion Branch 124 was created, with the mission to support veterans, promote remembrance and serve the community.
The torch has since been passed on to the veterans who fought for democracy in World War Two, said Legion president Al Howse.
“We took the torch and stayed true to the cause, despite some struggles. Ninety years later we still hold the torch high.”
Howse said the Legion will celebrate the milestone three ways — by hosting a community barbecue May 19, “refreshing” the look of the Legion and a “memories project” which will gather information to update a book about the Legion that was published in 1988.
“We are going to build on our work to document the stories and pictures of our local service men and women … to update and put all information we have in digital form for wider distribution,” said Howse.
“There are many brave men and women from this area enlisted, and have stories and pictures to go with the adventures.”
“We are also going to refresh our look at the Branch on King street, with work on the monument area in the front. We want to keep our look welcoming to all. This will also make our memorial more accessible.”
Howse said all are invited to the community BBQ Saturday May 19. The party starts at noon and includes live music on the front lawn.
“Come in and see our Branch. It is important to us that all of the town knows we are still in their service,” said Howse.
“We have achieved this together, so we should celebrate together.”