September 14: A Moment of Pause in Drayton Valley

When Drayton Valley brought together hundreds of students for a parade to the Portraits of Honour location, from shy Grade 1 classes to boisterous Grade 12 groups, it was easy to wonder if they would understand the importance of the portraits, and the solomn nature of the day. 

But as they walked for over a kilometer, lead by local emergency responders and RCMP and trailed by the Red Knight Motorcyclists and the Portraits of Honour convoy, many held the placards they had been given with the image of a fallen hero high overhead, quietly making the trek to the Drayton Valley Legion. Each student held the portrait they had been given with respect, and one could see the pride on their faces as those who lined the parade route waved Canadian flags and shouted their support. 

Upon arrival at the Legion, a short ceremony welcomed those who were in attendance, including 1 Service Batallion that had travelled from Edmonton to see some of their fallen comrades on the mural. The students that stayed for the ceremony were quiet and focused on the words being said, respectfully bowing their heads for The Last Post as wreaths were placed before the mural. 

In the evening,  a fundraising dinner held at the Legion featured a military speaker who said " We in uniforms protect you sitting here, and those who can't protect themselves, we willingly accept a certain amount of risk knowing we are doing that, but we are greatful to see our fallen friends honoured."

Earlier in the day, after the ceremony, the crew overheard a teacher remark to her class, " Would anyone want to see Mr. Sopha paint another picture on the mural?"  One young boy, no older than 7 responded, " No Miss, because that would mean another hero would die taking care of us."

It seems the kids do understand afterall.