This week is Legion Week across the nation. To help commemorate the occasion, the Weyburn Legion held a meet and greet with local veterans Wednesday morning.
This year is the first time Legion Week has been celebrated nationally. Jerry Ponto with the Weyburn Legion pointed out it has been marked provincially in years past, and this year, it was set aside as Legion Week by the municipal government.
“It is just a way to recognize some of the veterans, the people that served – not only people that served in the military but people that have served in the RCMP,” Ponto explained. He noted there were veterans from the Second World War, such as Don Wilkinson, who was at the event, as well as other veterans, such as Owen White, who served for 24 years in the Canadian Armed Forces and had a tour in Bosnia as part of the peacekeeping operations there.
“Well, I graduated school here in Weyburn in 1979,” White said. “Two months later, I decided I wanted to join the military and serve my country, which I did for 24 years.” He shared that while most of his time was spent in Canada, he had a tour overseas in Bosnia, from July of 1998 to February of 1999.
“I was getting paid a lot for being over there, but then after seeing some of the things that I’ve seen, it wasn’t about the money anymore – it was about helping people. That was it. After that, I just wanted to help and it was like serving my country – I'm helping my country,” White added.
As for the turnout for the meet and greet with the veterans from the Weyburn area, having the opportunity to talk to everyone who came out was something White holds dear.
“People need to know what we’ve gone through, and how things were, and today, it’s moving and touching for me because I take this very personally, and I’m emotional about it.”
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